College certainly isn’t cheap, but there are many ways students can save themselves some serious cash while earning their degrees.
Although graduating completely debt-free from college is virtually impossible in this day and age, it is possible to significantly prevent student loan debt from over-accumulating.
Here are six ways students can save money without compromising the quality of their education while in college:
1. Explore financial aid & scholarships
Most colleges and universities offer a plethora of financial aid and scholarships. Students in high school can also find scholarships for high school seniors. Students should apply to any relevant scholarships and make appointments with financial aid representatives at their campus to look at their options. Free money is always a good thing for students, so financial aid and scholarship opportunities should always be taken full advantage of.
2. Consider living at home
One of the most appealing aspects to college for many students is moving away from home, but this can, unfortunately, lead to a mountain of debt quickly amassing. Instead, living with parents while attending college can potentially save thousands of dollars due to significantly reduced spends on rent and food. Studying locally also usually means students won’t have to pay out of state tuition, which alone can save tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.
3. Study online
Online degree programs are more popular than ever before and for good reason; studying online is a cost-effective way to get your degree. This is mainly because online college tuition rates are generally lower than traditional brick and mortar schools. Students also don’t have to splurge on gas or public transportation fees to get to class and most importantly, the flexible nature of an online program allows students to maintain a full-time job throughout the course of their studies.
4. Attend community college
Community colleges are often undervalued, but they really shouldn’t be. These colleges allow students to take transferrable lower-division courses for a mere fraction of the price of what most four-year institutions charge. The majority of universities, even Ivy League, accept transfer students from community colleges and in many cases offer exclusive scholarship opportunities to them. Therefore, community college can potentially save students bucket loads of cash without dampening their chances of eventually attending a prestigious four-year school. Here are more reasons to attend a community college.
5. Spend wisely
One of the biggest mistakes students make is using their student loans to buy frivolous or unnecessary items such as the latest iPhone or on expensive nights out. Students looking to reduce the amount of loan money needed should always spend wisely. This includes shopping at discount stores, using coupons, waiting for sales and using helpful saving sites for tips and advice. These may not sound glamorous, but these choices can save students tremendous amounts of money.
There are some expenses that can be put on hold for the meantime, such as pricey gym memberships and buying the latest gadgets when you still have working devices. But there are some expenses that need to be prioritized because they will help you in college.
An example of this would be purchasing essential devices, such as computers or laptops. It is tempting to buy a brand new computer with the most advanced features, but most of the time, brand new computers are way beyond the budget of a college student. It would be an impractical purchase, especially if you don’t need advanced features or specs to accomplish your schoolwork.
Used and refurbished computers are more affordable and practical for college students with limited budget. These computers have been refurbished by IT professionals to be fully functional and to work just as efficiently as a brand new computer so you can accomplish schoolwork without any trouble.
6. Use saving apps
There are a bunch of popular new apps like Paribus and Earny that will find out if major stores owe you money. They act as a set and forget apps. Once you sign up for them, they do all the work for you and remember it’s 100% free. What’s better than getting money back on a purchase you’ve already made? These companies take advantage of price protection features.
If you’re not already investing then apps like Acorns can help you round up your purchases and invest the difference. For a college student who has a ton of time on the horizon, it’s a no brainer to use apps like Acorns. If you’re wondering, is Acorns is worth it? It definitely is for most college students.
Ready to save money in college
Students can potentially cut their amount of graduating debt in half or even more so by following the above steps. All is needed is a little careful planning, budgeting and an eye for a good deal.
Do you have any other tips to save money in college? Leave a comment below.
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