So yesterday I talked about some of the larger scale things you can do to cut cost and be more environmentally friendly while living on campus, today I'm going to discuss some other gadgets that can help as well, And I'm going to break them all down for you so you can see the overall savings and how it can benefit you.
Every school requires books, naturally, and all books they require come with a code known as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This code allows you to look up books to make sure your getting the correct edition used for the class. Each printing and each book has its own code, so 4th edition books have a different code then 3rd edition books, etc.
Most of us now have laptops, as they've become a standard use item for college, and if you don't well that's fine too. The usefulness of this is that with your Books (which generally cost anywhere from $80.00 to a mind blowing $200.00) and their handy dandy ISBN, you can now shrug off the high cost of super-priced textbooks and opt for the e-book version in PDF Format for significantly cheaper. The highest priced E-Book I've encountered for anything, including school was a mere $20.00!!! So if you have to buy 4 books per semester, at an average of 100 a book, that's 400 bucks, but if you buy them as e-books at an average of $10.00 a book, that's only $40.00 for all of them, giving you a savings of $360.00 on average. If you dont have a computer, that's fine, you can pick up an e-book (like the kindle or any other generic reader you find) reader for anywhere from $49.00 to $200.00, so even if you spring for the full bells and whistles reader for 200, your still spending around 50-55% this semester for books, and next semester, you'll spend MAYBE 10%. Since most campus store purchases come out of your student account, and at the end of the semester you get whatever is left over back, this translates into a pretty good return on your investment. On top of that, you don't have to waste time haggling over prices trying to sell the books privately to another student, or feeling ripped off when the store buys them back for pennies on the dollar.
Sometimes its a beautiful day and you want to work on your paper in the quad, or the park, or even just at the bus station while waiting for a ride. Sometimes your paper deadline will be in crush time and you'll realize you've locked yourself out of your room, and your roommate has classes all day, and the RA is nowhere around. Well that causes an issue if the battery in your laptop is like mine, and only holds a charge for 2.5 hours.All is not lost though! The fine folks E-Pow have released a Portable Solar Laptop Charger that not only gets the job done, but doesn't hurt your wallet doing it!
If your rocking a netbook, and dont need as much power, there are other systems out there, some of which can even be found on ebay for even less. The trick is to know how much power you need, and if you don't know, ask the geeky nerd down the hall who does (every dorm has one, I was one)... Ladies, remember that nerd could someday be the next Bill Gates so don't count him out of the dating pool.
Once you know how much you need, you can hunt for the one that best suits your needs and your budget. The great thing with these is, even when your in your dorm, you can use these to charge your cell phones, ipods, etc just by setting it in the window!
If your rocking an ipad, and using it as your e-book reader, there are solar chargers out there that cost as little as 25 bucks (this also apply's to some net books). Good luck, and don't spend all your saved cash on pizza....