Part of my process of planning to go back to school was calculating the budget: how much I would receive in grants every month, what part of the tuition we would need to pay ourselves, how to defer my student loans. But there were some hidden, forgotten costs that have appeared- out of nowhere it seems.
Photocopies and printing documents
I’ve had to make a few photocopies, for my student card and other administrative forms. I don’t imagine that this will be a huge expense, but I can definitely see needing to make five or six photocopies per month. Luckily, as students we get 25O impressions (printing or photocopying documents) although I have the feeling that most of those 250 sheets will go to printing out papers, presentations and more. Which leads me to
I have steadfastly resisted owning a printer for at least four years now. I feel like we don’t have the space, nor do I want the added expense of buying paper and ink. But I think I may have to give in and buy one; there are just too many things which need to be printed out. Luckily this is not urgent, so we have time to put out the word on Freecycle or amongst our friends and family, or find a good deal on a new one.
This is not a hidden cost, per se, as I knew in advance that I would need a laptop. But it did not figure in our financial calculations when we were considering whether or not we would be able to afford for me to go back to school. After I knew that I had received my grant, we went looking for a affordable dependable laptop; we were able to pay cash for it, a first for a major expense like this.
If you have a laptop, of course you need a way to transport it. Enter my laptop sleeve. The materials weren’t that expensive (less than â‚¬10), but factor in the time to make it and it’s worth about â‚¬80. Buying a nice one would have been much more expensive, but it’s still a factor.
I don’t drive to school- it’s across town and I would have to fight my way through traffic jams twice a day and pay for parking. Instead I take the tram, which is as good a commute as any, although not free. Each trip costs me â‚¬1, that’s â‚¬2 a day, â‚¬10 a week, â‚¬40 a month, that I didn’t consider when planning my budget. Gas and parking would be much more expensive, however, so I do think I am making the right decision. Not to mention that I actually get to read on the tram!
Things for lunch
Even though I pack my lunch, I’ve had to start buying special things to put in it. Hard cheeses, rice cakes, eggs for boiled eggs. Stuff that I wouldn’t normally buy, and which, although it doesn’t cost much, does add up.
I drink coffee at home, of course. I would have a hard time getting out of the house without it! But once at school, the coffee machine calls its sweet siren Vanilla Latte song, and I have a hard time resisting. â‚¬.45 may not seem like much, but multiplied by at least once a day, five days a week and I’m spending a good part of my â‚¬20 monthly blow money on staying awake. A few girls in my class bring thermoses full of strong tea to class, and I’m looking for a cheap thermos so that I can bring my own coffee. I think I could recup the cost of buying it after the first month.
How do you save money in your daily routine? Have you found any hidden costs?