If you know what you are looking for click the link below to jump to that part of the page. By clicking on any of the categories of expenses below, you can learn how to save a portion of your costs. Click on one of the 12 categories of Million Dollar Choices shown below, and make your first Million Dollar Choice today. Remember, to qualify as a Million Dollar Choice, you must choose to invest the savings from your smart savings decision. For your convenience there is a button on the bottom right that will appear to scroll you back to the top of the page.
When many students go off to college, they take the car they have been accustomed to using with them. While a car is certainly a very convenient transportation option, driving carries many costs for the self-sufficient student. The average cost of driving a vehicle actually is about 54 cents a mile according to a AAA study completed last year. Finding alternate transportation methods, such as walking, biking or riding the bus can really help a student save substantially. If an eighteen year old student were able to find ways to drive 3000 less miles in a year, this would save him/her $1620/year. If he/she invested the money saved, this could potentially be worth well over 1 million by retirement. Use the links below to see how you could save on transportation expenses.
Auto insurance rates are generally the highest for people who are under the age of 25. As most college students are in this age range, the cost for auto insurance can indeed be very high. While college student rates are higher than those of the general public, many students, unfortunately, unknowingly pay more money for this coverage than necessary. Premiums for the same car and the same coverage can vary as much as 50% among various carriers. Utah Department of Insurance rate information collected showed that average premiums for a single, 20-year old male ranged from as low as $466 to as high as $2613 for a six month policy. The fact is that you may be paying way too much for your automobile insurance coverage. Assuming a 20 year old saved only half the amount between the lowest Utah rate of $466 and the highest rate of $2613, the decision to make this million dollar choice could be worth well over $3,300,000 by retirement. Explore the links below to determine how you can save a huge amount of money on your insurance coverage.
Many college students use their cars as tools to impress those around them. Having a vehicle that looks perfect, unfortunately, can be quite expensive. The average cost for a basic auto detailing package is $58, according to Costhelper.com. The tab for getting your car detailed every month is $696 per year. Fortunately, you can learn to clean your car at home very inexpensively. If a 18 year old decided he/she was going to just wash his/her car at the apartment, let's conservatively assume that he/she could save half of the $58 per month (after all, he/she would have to purchase some supplies). This decision to save just $29 per month would be worth about $790,000 if he/she invested the savings for the rest of his/her life. Use the links to learn more about how to properly wash a car.
For some college students, filling up the gas tank means they might have to go hungry. Over 20% of the cost of owning a vehicle stems from fuel costs. The average cost per mile for gasoline is 11.7 cents. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to help control fuel costs. See the tips we have provided below for improving the fuel efficiency of your current vehicle. Conservatively assuming that a 25 year-old person could save only 25% of the average cost per mile for gasoline, and they chose to invest the savings, this Million Dollar Decision could be worth over $400,000 to them at retirement.
After tuition, rent is probably the largest expense in the average college budget. The median national rental cost is $1324 over all metro areas. However, rental expenses are literally all over the map. An average rental costs only $936 in Phoenix, while the average rental in Washington DC is $1608. While college students generally can pay a lower cost by sharing an apartment with roommates, the average student still spends nearly $6000/year on rent. It may be that you can find cheaper rent without having to move far at all. Use the utilities below to understand the potential savings you could find. If an 18-year-old student were able to save just $100/month on rent (and continued saving this amount until retirement), this decision could be worth over 2.75 million dollars at retirement.
The average household spends over $2000/year on energy. Fortunately, there are many suggestions you can follow to reduce your energy consumption and expenditures. Additionally, if you live in an area with competitive power markets, you may be able to switch to another electricity provider and save money in that way. If a person were able to implement several simple suggestions, such as using programmable thermostats, they could save a large proportion of their energy costs each year. Assuming a 25 year old was able to save just 25% of his energy costs, this decision would be worth nearly $500,000 by the time he/she retired. Explore the links below and discover how you can make a Million Dollar Decision today.
If you are like most college students, your cell phone is an extremely important part of your life. Unfortunately, you may be paying way too much for your service. What is worse, you are probably stuck in a two or three year contract. Many cell phone sales dealers get people to purchase minutes they have no need of. Unfortunately, to cancel a contract, you generally have had to pay a fee of up to $250.00. Fortunately, now, internet technology has made it possible to switch to a new cell phone plan affordably. You can get out of your high priced contract and get a good, basic plan for about $30/month. That is a savings of $20/month (probably more) versus the average cost. If a 20 year old switched from a $50/month plan to a $30/month plan, the $20/month savings, if invested, would mean the 20 year old would have $433,000 dollars at retirement.
While many college students have completely gotten rid of their home phone, for those who use their home phone, the cost can really add up. Many college students spend huge amounts of money on long-distance telephone bills to talk with friends and family at home. New VOIP technology and the internet will allow individuals to avoid most of these types of expenses. There are numerous VOIP technology providers you can learn more about using the links below. Skype, one of the providers, costs only $2.95 and gives you unlimited calling to all cell phones and landlines in the US and Canada. A 20 year old who decided to use Skype service at a cost of $2.95 instead of paying the average amount of $500/year could have over $830,000 by the time he/she retired. Use the links to see how you can begin saving today.
The internet is an extremely important part of most college students' lives. The average cost of internet access is $32.42/month. Many customers end up paying much more for service. Most people end up being sold on internet services and add-ons that they really don’t need. A basic, high-speed connection from Quest will only cost a person $14.99. For those who don't need high-speed internet, free internet resources are available. If a twenty year old decided to switch to a basic, high-speed package from his/her average priced internet, the savings could be worth over $375,000 at retirement. If he/she decided to use one of the free internet services, this decision could be worth over $700,000 at retirement. Many colleges offer free internet resources as an included benefit to students. You should explore the resources available at your school. If you are interested in free internet access, explore the links below.
Many college students like to subscribe to a few, favorite magazines. If you are paying the cover price for any magazine subscriptions, it is likely you are paying too much. Research has shown that magazine companies don't expect to successfully charge the cover price. This price is used to help psychologically create the perception that the magazine is a truly valuable resource. A recent Media Life Magazine study uncovered that, in one category of magazines, the savings on all magazines in the category ranged from 35% to 77% off of the cover price. If a 20 year old, who subscribed to 3 magazines with a cover price of 3.50/magazine decided to investigate the possibility of saving just 50% of the cover price for each of these magazines and invested the savings, this decision could be worth over $110,000 at retirement.
The average student spends nearly $800/year on books. While shopping at the campus bookstore may be the most convenient way to purchase your books, it is definitely not the most inexpensive. By following the tips below, we believe the average student could save about half of what he/she currently spends on textbooks. If an eighteen year old began to save an extra $400/year right away and began saving until retirement, this savings would be worth well over $900,000. Click on the links below to learn how to begin saving today.
The average American spends $160/month per person. For a college student on a limited budget, that can represent a large percentage of the monthly budget. Research has consistently shown that, through appropriate planning, we can save about 50% of the amount we spend on food. To be conservative, we will assume that a person saves only 25% of the amount they have been spending on food. If an 18 year old decided to implement the simple suggestions necessary to save 25% of his/her food bill, this decision could be worth over $1,000,000 by retirement. Start at these useful links to find some of the best, easiest strategies for reducing the amount you spend on food.
Many college students eat out to get a taste of the good life or because they feel they just don't have enough time to cook at home. Nevertheless, unfortunately eating out can be extremely expensive. Many college students spend more eating out than they do at home. Fortunately, there are many possible ways that a person can save on dining out. If an 18-year-old made cumulative decisions that allowed him/her to save half of the $100/month spent on eating out, this decision could be worth more than $1,300,000 at retirement. Click on the links below to see how you could begin to save on restaurant bills.
The average vending machine snack costs $1. It can be so convenient to just grab a quick snack between classes. If a person purchases a snack every day between classes (Monday-Friday), they would pay $260.00/year on vending machine snacks. Research has shown that it is relatively easy to save the cost of these expenditures. Professor Marsh did his own study comparing the cost of 7-11 (comparable to vending machine mark-ups) with purchasing snack items in bulk at Costco. The mark-ups were as high as 215%. If an 18-year-old could save just half of the $260.00/year he/she was spending on vending snacks, this could be worth nearly $300,000 at retirement. Use the links below to learn more about this savings possibility.
It is a really good idea to carry renter's insurance while you are a college student. While your landlord probably has insurance that will cover the apartment, this insurance will not cover your personal items in the apartment. Different renter's insurance policies vary in cost dramatically. If an 18-year-old could save only $12/month on this type of insurance, this decision could be worth over $325,000 at retirement. Use the links below to see how you can save on this type of coverage.
The average amount of credit card debt for a student is $2,700.00, but many students have even higher debt. The average interest rate on a standard card is about 13%, but many students pay much higher rates due to their short credit history. Making the minimum payment each month on a $4,600 card debt, it would take 250 months (almost 21 years) to pay off the debt and cost $4,868 in interest. If a 20 year old was able to instead find a card with only a 7% interest rate, he or she could instead be completely out of debt in less than 10 years. If he/she then chose to invest the savings until retirement, this could be worth nearly $500,000. Explore the links below to see how you could save on credit cards.
With the cost of tuition rapidly rising, students are taking out more and more debt to fund their education. The average debt at a four year institution is a stunning $22,500, with some students borrowing much, much more. Research has shown that much of a student's money is being spent on unnecessary items, not just on tuition. By reducing borrowing on student loans, a student can save a substantial amount of money in the long run. Many of the recommendations that will allow a student to take out less student debt are found in other parts of this website. Nonetheless, for those students who must take out debt, not all lenders are created equal. By exploring the below resources, students can reduce their student debt and make a million dollar choice. If a student is able to reduce their debt enough to reduce their after-college monthly payments by just $100 dollars, this decision could be worth over $1.6 million dollars by retirement.
Many people have never even heard of their FICO score, but your FICO score is important for your financial success. These scores determine, among many things, whether or not you will be extended credit and what rates you will be charged, whether you will be extended many types of insurance coverage and what your premiums will be, whether or not an employer will employ you, and whether your will be allowed to rent a home. Learning to manage this score properly can save you a lot of money. For example, for a 25 year old with a 30 year mortgage, the difference between a credit score in the range of 620-670 and one with a score in the range of 720-850 would be $340 per month. By investing this savings, the 25 year old with the higher score would potentially have over $4,000,000 by retirement. Use the links below to see how much you could save.
The average price of a movie ticket in 2008 was $7.18/ticket. Going out to movies each week with friends can get very expensive in a hurry. 1.363 billion movie tickets were sold last year in the US. This means that the average American went to the movies about 5 times during the course of the year. College students generally go to movies much more frequently than the general public. This area of the budget is one where a person can save a substantial amount of money, without having to sacrifice the fun of watching video entertainment. If an 18 year old who goes to movies weekly decided to do things that would reduce his/her expenses by 50%, this decision could be worth nearly $500,000 by retirement. Explore the links below to see how you could save a substantial amount on video entertainment.
The average American cable bill was $58.44/month last year. Many college students, who often subscribe to many premium channels, end up paying more. Many students are likely paying too much for their cable. Many people are finding they can do without cable all together due to the proliferation of sites on the internet offering free entertainment content. If a 20 year old person was able to save half of his $58.44/month bill, this decision could be worth nearly $650,000 at retirement. Use the links below to save money on your cable television bill.
As a whole, today's college students have grown up playing video games. Over half of college students own a gaming system and college students spend $341 million per year on games. For students who are barely making ends meet, one would have to wonder if there were, perhaps, other ways students could play video games they would like. If an eighteen-year-old person could save $40 dollars per month (the cost of a new game), this decision could be worth over 1 million dollars at retirement. Search these resources and learn how you could save.
College Students are one of the primary consumers of music, coughing up a whopping $474 million per year. The internet is increasingly making spending on music less and less necessary. If an 18-year-old student, who currently spends $30/month on music found a way to cut this expenditure in half, this decision would be worth over $400,000 at retirement. Click on the links below to beginning discovering how to save today.
Many students like to go on regular dates. Several of Professor Marsh's students did some informal polls and found out that many students spend well over $1000/semester going on dates. If an 18-year-old student were able to find low cost opportunities and save $500/semester on dates (and continued saving this amount throughout his/her life), this decision could be worth over 2.25 million dollars at retirement. Follow the links below to see how you could discover savings opportunities.
For many people, part of a typical date entails going out to eat. Unfortunately, eating out can be extremely on a college budget. Our informal research showed that many students spend more than $1000/year on dating. It is likely about half of that amount is spent on eating out. Fortunately, there are many possible ways that a person can save on dining out. If an 18 year old made cumulative decisions that allowed him/her to save half of the average $500/semester spent on eating out during dates, this decision could be worth more than $2,000,000 at retirement. Click on the links below to see how you could begin to save on restaurant bills.
According to data from costhelper.com, manicures can cost anywhere from $10-$85. If you get a manicure every two weeks and pay the average price of about $30 per manicure, you could pay nearly $800 for manicures each year. As a college student, that money can be put to better use. You can, however, get a great manicure without having to pay nearly as much. If a 20 year old were able to save the cost of manicures over the course of her life, this decision would be worth nearly 1.5 million at retirement. Use the links below to see how much you could save.
According to the Professional Beauty Association, the average cost of a haircut is about $45.00. This is a lot of money for most people, but it is particularly a lot of money for a college student. If you get a haircut every other month, this means you will spend $270.00/year on your hair cuts. If a 20 year old were able to save this expense, this would be worth nearly $500,000 at retirement. Use the tips below to figure out how you can save this expenditure.
Data from costhelper.com reports that the average gym membership usually costs about $40/month. College students are some of those individuals who are most likely to purchase a membership. Research has shown that most people don't use their gym passes regularly. If a 20 year old individual decided that he would use the tips in this section to save his gym pass expenses, this decision could be worth over $850,000 dollars at retirement.
The average vacation cost, according to a 2008 AAA study, for two adults traveling together in the United States was $244/day, just for lodging and meals. If we assume that a single college student would spend just half of this amount per day, you can see how this could be quite expensive in a hurry. What if a 20 year old decided he would find ways to save a portion of his/her vacation costs. If he were able to save half of the cost of vacationing each year, this could ultimately be worth over $1.5 million to him/her. Explore the links below to learn how you can save on travel.
While research has shown that many students do better in school if they are working, many students have no choice but to work while they are in school. About 75% of students work and in fact earn nearly $700/month on average. Every dollar earned, as long as it is not spent on unnecessary items, is a dollar that could go toward tuition and necessary expenses, thereby lowering the amount of needed borrowing. Explore the links below to find some of the finest available work opportunities for those in college.
If a student can get a scholarship to pay for a portion of educational costs, this is a great deal. Scholarships are not usually money you can spend, so receiving a scholarship can reduce your student loans on a dollar for dollar basis. Unfortunately, many students erroneously conclude that because they don't have a top GPA, they can't qualify for a scholarship. That is certainly not at all true. There are numerous scholarships out there which are awarded for a large number of reasons. Use these resources below to find those that you might qualify for.
The average cost of an education increases each and every year. The average cost of a private education in 2008-2009 was $25,143, and this number is increasing each year. This means more and more pople have to go deep into debt to pay for their college education. Fortunately, there are intelligent ways you can work to reduce the amount of debt you must take out. Explore the resources below to determine how much money you could potentially save through the use of grants.
Research has shown that most high-net worth individuals become very good at understanding how and where their money is being spent. This understanding helps them to discover new ways in which they can save money. While the process to track expenses can be tedious, fortunately there are numerous tools that can substantially simplify the process. Explore some of our favorite tools below to learn how you can begin tracking your expenses and disco. While we can't estimate the potential value of the savings you might find, we do know it is virtually limitless.