The following is one student's account after four years of U.S. undergraduate study. Costs are based on 1991 east coast averages. Keep in mind that prices can vary drastically, depending on where you are spending money and on what. This list is to give you a general idea.
• Textbooks. $200-$500/year. May be more for graduate students. Used books are a bargain if they are the correct edition.
• Laboratory Fees: Check the course catalog.
• Art Supplies and Music Lessons: $50-$500/year.
• Office Supplies: $50-$75/year. University bookstores may have the best buys.
• Typewriter/Computer: $100-$1500 one time cost. Check for student discounts at the campus store, or used/old models. The university newspaper and bulletin boards around campus are usually full of advertisements for used goods. University libraries or computer centers usually have computers for student use free of charge.
• Linens: Sheets, pillows, blankets, and towels, $100-$150 one time purchase.
• Apartment/Room Furnishings: Alarm clock, wastebasket, lamp, clothes hangers, etc., $75-$100 one time expense.
• Laundry: Do it yourself coin-operated washers and dryers are available everywhere and usually take only quarters. It may take 2 dryer cycles to actually dry your clothes. $5-$10/week.
• Transportation: If you need to take a bus or subway to class, you could pay $10-$25/week. If you frequently use public transportation, it may be more economical to buy a monthly pass.
Other Necessary and Optional Expenses
• U.S. and European electrical items are NOT interchangeable. U.S. and European television and video systems are NOT compatible.
• Telephone Calls: $200-$300/year.
• Postage: $50-$75 depending on how often you write.
• Clothes: $200-$300/year. Items with the university seal or name can be more costly than plain items of equal quality. If you can, wait for clearance sales.
• Haircuts: $75-$100/year. For men, a haircut at a barber shop is cheaper, usually $10 or less. A haircut for men or women at a styling salon can vary from $15-$40. They may charge a few dollars extra to wash and style. A perm or coloring can range from $40-$100 or more.
• Sports Equipment: $75-$150/year.
• Travel: $500/year within the U.S. for recreation.
• Radio/Stereo/TV/VCR: $100-$350 one time cost. Do take your favorite music with you.
• Entertainment: Movies, $6-$10. On-campus movies are usually cheaper. Theater/Concerts: $10-$40. Some campus festivals are free; some cost $3-$5. For snacks or a meal, $5 and up. The legal age for buying alcoholic drinks, including beer and wine, is 21. It is strictly enforced.
• Personal Care Items: Toothpaste, shampoo, vitamins, etc., $30-$100/year.
• Reading Materials: Newspapers, magazines, books for recreation, $2-$10/item.
• Cigarettes: $2-$3/pack. Smoking in public areas is usually forbidden.
Not Essential but a Nice Extra
• Camera: $50-$150 one time cost; $3-$10 developing fees, depending on how quickly the photos will be developed and how many pictures per roll of film. Great for capturing memories.