Easy Ways to Save Money In College
Many college students, stifled with the sudden high cost of college, upon entering, have probably stopped to ask themselves, “what are some easy ways to save money as a college student”? At different times during their college years. College is all about acquiring quality education. But focusing on a degree, and the side advantages, including making new friends and enjoying the educational and social processes.
But a lack of financial “awareness” on a student’s part, can create a period of constant financial turmoil and emotional strife.
Most students entering college arrives with a dream of collegiate success. But many don’t complete their course of study due to financial hardships.
The reason for this disparity is not because few students are financially superior. But because they possess the ability to budget and save while in college.
College Can Be Both Fun and Educationally Rewarding When Done The Right Way
Earning money during college is one thing, but students can increase rainy day savings by starting a habit of focusing on easy ways to save money. Having money in your pocket feels good. And the habit of saving money gives you peace of mind and a bit of financial security.
The challenge is, of course, how to achieve the goal of saving money while in college. Well, to help college students, I’ve come up with some amazing practical ways of saving money listed below.
Start With Budget Preparation For Easy Ways to Save Money
Most college students shun the idea of preparing a budget but believe me this is the best way of initiating your saving process. A budget is nothing but a statement showing your estimated expenditures coupled with income.
You have the freedom to go in for minute details or prepare a superficial budget based on your needs. But I advise you to prepare a detailed budget, so that leaking cash can be easily spotted.
After preparing a full-fledged budget, let us find out the ways in which cash leaking can be avoided. The main question when preparing a budget should be, “easy ways to save money on just about everything you do and delete things you don’t need to do”.
Apply For Scholarships and Financial Aid
The first step to saving before and after entering your college life begins with applying for scholarships or financial aid. This kind of aid is generally given to two kinds of students- 1. meritorious and/or 2. needy, so if you belong to either of these categories, do apply for scholarships as it would help you save a lot of money which would otherwise come out of your personal budget.
Understand FAFSA (also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is crucial. You can download it from the government website used for getting private and government aid for college or fill it out online.
You can file your FAFSA application online as soon as it comes out, the sooner you apply, the better your financial aid. List every single college you may apply to, and the award will later be sent to the college of your choice.
Do everything you can to keep student loans to a minimum. The number one consideration when choosing a college is staying out of debt as much as possible, your college must be affordable to start.
Buying Old Books or Clothes
We live in a time where many college students are actively participating in various environmental savings activities. They believe in the concept of ‘renew, reuse and recycle’. You will be surprised to know that for college students, this can be a process for saving a lot of money.
Yes, buying old books and clothes not only allows you to save a lot of money which eventually adds up to a lot in savings. But also allows students to contribute to the environment, by saving resources and energy. Look for stores where used books and clothes are sold, and purchase those in good and usable condition.
Roommates in College May be a Good Bet
Saving money is not an easy task, it takes a lot of effort on the part of a student. But for a college student, there are plenty of answers to the question ‘how to save money’. Living in college dorms or apartments is costly, but if you find yourself a few roommates, you can avoid a lot of extra expense, and thus save money.
Do a careful analysis of the people you choose as roommates, make sure they are in college for the right reasons, and they pay their bills on time.
Affordable Transportation Options
College campuses are scattered over large areas. Because of this, having a vehicle becomes a necessity when you must move from one place to another on campus. Some campuses are huge with several acres. But who said that only a motorcycle or a car can solve your problem if saving money is your target then go for a bicycle or bus.
A used bicycle is easily available from any shop near a college. So take advantage of this healthy transportation option and save on your fuel and repair expenses. Create ride share teams with other students when you must take a car, and use public transportation to get to and from school when it is available.
A Part-Time Job
The task of saving money can be eased by taking up a part-time job on your college campus or any store nearby college where you shop. By taking a part-time job on your college premises or nearby, you can pay minor expenses such as gas or food.
If you don’t want to get a job at your college, then look for a job opening at a retail shop nearby college where you shop regularly. This would help you get things you need at a discount, which can be considerable.
Student Discounts and Freebies
Many e-commerce websites and retail shops offer a variety of student discounts such as hair products, grooming accessories, clothes, and food items. Receiving discounts will help you save a lot of money and reduce your expenses, considerably.
But not everything is available with discounts and this is the reason why I recommend you stay on the alert to look out for freebies and giveaways, don’t be afraid to use coupons when you are in college.
I hope you’ve got some useful and exciting answers to the question ‘how to save money in college’ that would help you make your college life more affordable.
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Pay Off Student Loans by Keeping a Reasonable Balance When You Graduate in Four Years
Keeping a reasonable student loan balance requires an immense amount of planning, organization, and discipline, but you can do it. Some kids can’t pay off student loans because they are spending way too much time in college, going five or six years for a four-year degree. Some have to work more than expected, some drop classes, some feel they can’t get all of their classes, and some don’t force themselves to decide on a major course of study when it is time.
Organize yourself, and graduate in four years no matter what. If you want to do something else later, pay for it with cash after you start working, or use your employer tuition reimbursement plan some employers offer.
Some students drop classes, some feel they can’t get all of their classes, and some don’t force themselves to decide on a major course of study when it is time. Organize yourself, and graduate in four years no matter what. If you want to do something else later, pay for it with cash after you start working, or use your employer tuition reimbursement plan some employers offer.
The Nightmare Scenario of Getting Student Loans and No College Degree
It seems hard to believe that students are taking out thousands of dollars of student loans, and not getting the college degree that comes with it. But, that is happening all the time. I recently listened to a radio show where the host asked listeners to call in with their student loan balances and tell if they got their dream job. He got the surprise of his life when several people, calling in from all over the region said they had $50,000, $70,000 and even $100,000 in student loans, but left college with no degree.
They gave various reasons; some fell behind in grades and were asked to leave, some became ill and had to leave, some did not qualify for the last semester or year of student loans to finish their degree because they reached their maximum eligibility, some had to quit and work awhile and did not return.
There were many reasons. Here is the sad part, once the loans payments start if payments are not made you are sent to collections, when you are in collections you have to jump through hoops to qualify for financial aid again, so you can return to school. If you don’t pay your way out of collections and start making payments’, your student loan balance will increase exponentially every single year, due to added penalties’, including collection company fees and interest rates. Avoiding collections is the most encouraging reason you should pay off your student loans as soon as possible.
Pay Off School Loans as Early as Possible to Avoid Possible Catastrophic Events
If you can’t pay off student loans after your grace period is over because you don’t have a job in your field, you can apply for government help. You can get an Income Based Repayment Plan or IBR Plan set up by the federal government, created under the Obama Administration. When you are adequately employed your payments will return to normal. In addition to paying your school loans no matter what to protect your lifelong credit, think about paying them off early. Parent loans are not eligible. The bad part of the Income based repayment plan is that, your payments are so low they usually don’t cover most interest or principle. This causes your balance to balloon. I have had students tell me a balance went from $30,000 to $70,000 in a few years or even worse. This is one reason you should do everything in your powers to pay your full payment immediately, and extra to the principle will pay off your student loan early.
When you pay extra money to principle, you can pay off your loans early. Do your research with your school loan providers, and make sure you pay them off correctly and monitor your statements. Another way to bring down your loan balance is with the governments [service oriented repayment plan] if you work for a non-profit.
Get Debt-Free College by Knowing Your Options, Go Here
A Problem Many Students Don’t Discover Until After They Are Enrolled
Most financial aid packages at four-year colleges cover only 80% of costs for the poorest students as well as everyone else, an exception is a full scholarship that covers all income levels. Many poor and middle-income students don’t discover this fact until the end of their freshmen year.
Here is an actual example a college student gave me: a young man was told his college would cost $13,000.00 for the year, all but $2500.00 was covered by his financial aid package, he wasn’t told about this gap in financial aid until the end of his first year. His single mom had no money to help him.
He was asked not to come back until he could pay the $2500.00 balance. They told him the computer would not allow him to register. Another case, that was taken up by a local senator, is that of a young girl who took out $55,000.00 in school loans, she was told that was her maximum, and needed to find another way to pay for her last year and get a degree. She informed them that she had no other way. You can find out how difficult it can be to repay student loans by reading about it at the Student Loan Justice site.
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Teaching Kids to Avoid College Credit Cards
College credit cards can be very complicated to understand for an advanced financial person, for new college students it is even harder to understand. Now is the time to talk to your kids (sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, or grandkids), about college credit cards. School is around the corner, so please get busy. Pull up a chair, sit down, grab your child, look him/her in the eyes and start talking.
Here are some humble suggestions for your conversation.
Start with credit cards and end with credit cards. Once they see the danger in credit cards all other budgeting matters should fall into place.
Why Your Student Needs to be Responsible Before Credit Cards
Impart the many evils of credit cards into their psyche by starting with the potential for financial ruin if he or she doesn’t understand how credit card charges work, (in particular, how college credit cards work). Don’t forget to mention the credit report, which will be of utmost importance when they apply for everything from jobs to cars and apartments, after college. Make sure you explain that the credit card report will follow them for life, and will be one major determinant that makes their life easier or harder depending on efficient bill paying.
How College Credit Cards Can Destroy Your Credit Before Graduation
The nuances of college credit cards are enough to ruin anyone’s college career. Most college credit card interest rate is far in excess of the average interest rate. Most college credit cards charge variable interest rates from 13% to 24%. That is bad, but the charges get even worse with hidden cost. The hidden cost can drive up the balance and quadruple monthly payments. The over-the-balance and missed payment penalties are atrocious for credit cards. A $30 a month payment could quickly swell to $300 with “missed payment” and “over-the-limit” fees tacked on.
Now you see why credit card companies are so anxious to give out credit cards to young, over-spending, credit-naive college students. Some students already have bad credit or don’t have a small job that some require, therefore they are forced to get “secure” credit cards. The cards are secured with their own money. The cost can also be high with these cards. Since the cost are hidden in many of these cards it is important to do a lot of interest rate research, verify the over the limit and missed payment cost.
How Credit Card Companies Contact College Students
Most college campuses do not allow credit card companies to set-up tables on campus and sign up students anymore. Don’t think this has stopped them. Credit card companies have managed to “mysteriously” get phone numbers and addresses of college student, (I wonder how?), then they ferociously contact them day after day to get that coveted college credit card account. I should know, my niece used our phone number and address as her permanent address when she started college in our town. I received 4-5 calls PER DAY, from 4-5 DIFFERENT credit card companies, all for my niece. I’m glad they didn’t have her dorm room number.
The Case For Not Getting College Credit Cards to Your Student
Now, for the renegades. There will be a few of you who have college students who will apply for a college credit card just because you have counseled them not to. I recommend you end the conversation as such, “if you ever get a credit card, please be aware of all of the charges, get ONLY one, and use it ONLY for emergencies. Remind them that they don’t want to pay ten times more than original cost for everything they buy because of excessive interest charges.
How You Can Get Your Child to Understand the Personal Finance Issues That Will Effect Them For Life
Final instructions, if you want to impart the highest level of financial wisdom on your child, download my eBook series at Amazon, “Live Rich Save Money” then take my “Savvy Money Tutorials“. Use my eBooks and Tutorials together to get a better understanding of money and it’s principles. Use my Budget Planner to show your student how to create the right budget for everything he or she does. The proper financial knowledge early will save him/her from years of mistakes and financial misery. Whenever your college student brings up issues you can refer to my eBooks, Tutorials or Budget Planner.
Final Words of Wisdom for Your Student
So, sit down, pull up a chair, look your college students in the eyes, tell them how much you love them, and proceed to impart the former words of wisdom. And, lastly, tell them that college credit cards are not financial aid and were never not intended to be.
You May Also Like:
How to go to College Without Student Loans, Get Debt-Free College part 1
How to go to College Without Student Loans, Debt-Free College Should be Your Goal, part 2
How to go to College and Pay Off Student Loans, Debt-Free College Should be Your Goal, part 3