College is something the majority of school leavers in the United States aspire to, with over half of all graduates going on to study in higher education. Indeed, over 20 million people each year in the country alone apply to a university, and from that simple number alone we can see it’s an ever present and popular option in people’s attempts to do what they love in life.
And yet, it’s still not getting any cheaper. In fact, the costs per year has increased five times over, and now you’re going to need about $10,000 for every year you need to finish your degree! But who can afford that? There’s not a lot of people on the market who could even try, and thus you’ve got student loans. But then the amount of debt accumulated off of those can keep you down for a long time; it’s almost like you’re stuck in a trap.
Most of all, you need some more money, both for your weekly shop and having a good time with your friends at the end of the week (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg)! So when you’re in college, you need quite a few quick and easy money saving tips on your side! So this is the post you’ve been looking for; it’s time to make your education dreams become a little more achievable with some of the tips below.
See if You Qualify for a Scholarship
Scholarships are often the saving grace of any students worrying about the financial strain college is going to put on them, especially if they would have no chance of going to university in the first place. Of course, during people’s high school careers, they usually aspire towards one or more scholarship programs and take classes accordingly, but even if you haven’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a look at what’s on offer.
There’s usually two different types of scholarships people can apply for: because you excel in a certain part of academia, or because you have a unique talent you can show off at the university. Of course, each college has their own scholarship programs on offer, so you don’t have to be limited to these.
About 75%, on average, of your college tuition will be paid for, and that’s a hefty amount that most people can usually make up on the other side. So throw your luck in with a scholarship application, or two or three; you never know what requirements you might actually fit!
Buy Old and Used Textbooks
New textbooks are going to be a huge money sinkhole, and you can’t afford to fall into one of those when it comes to living the life of a student. So instead of taking the easy option, seeing as the newer versions of the textbooks are always more available, have a good scout around for any old copies you can pick up.
See if you can borrow from other people who have been through the same programs, look online, and see if you can find any PDFs (there’s always some out there, thankfully!). These textbooks can also be rented, so you can do a couple of weeks at a time on this discounted service to note down any of the information the textbook gives you, and get as many of your assignments done too. Call it a productivity drive if that makes you feel better!
Eat In as Much as You Can
When you eat in, you save yourself some valuable pennies, and you’re also more likely to monitor how much you consume. When we’re out and about we always underestimate how much we’re going to spend, and that’s dangerous in more ways than one! So bulk buy your groceries, and try to limit your restaurant eating to about twice a month at most.
Of course, fast food is always helpful here, as all the saver menus in our favorite places will only cost you a dollar or so when you really need the food, so take advantage of that. At the same time, try to make sure your cupboards back at home are stocked with pasta and some good spice varieties, as well as a bag of potatoes. Then in your fridge keep some chicken and some milk, and a bag of assorted vegetables. When you’ve got all of the basics at the ready, you can come up with some great meal variations that you won’t get bored of. Plus, these foods give you all of the most essentials nutrients you’re meant to get from your diet!
Try an Online Degree
If you really can’t afford the premise of the university, you can always turn to the refuge of the online world for help. Of course you can find loan solutions and the like online, more than any in a traditional bank, but you can also find online degrees. These mean just as much as the ones you get from heading to college for a few years and are a much more accessible way to learn for anyone who really wants to.
Applying to a program like an online msn will be considerably cheaper in the long run compared to a more traditional degree, and it leaves a lot more time for working that side job you desperately need to afford college in the first place. Let a little weight fall off your shoulders by using this method of becoming qualified; if you’re an older applicant, this is one of the best programs for your lifestyle.
There’s no shame in needing to drop out of your current program because you can’t keep up with the fees, and instead apply to something that’s a lot cheaper and more flexible on your needs. So keep an online degree in mind when you’re deciding what to do after high school, or even if you’re thinking about a change in career. It can help massively.
Study as Much as You Can
And not just as much as you can, but with a good amount of quality at the same time. You can spend hours in the library with your textbooks and your thesis and still get nothing done, after all.
But the premise remains the same. The more you study, the less time you’re going to have to spend at university, and that’s going to save you a lot of money in the long run. You won’t have to apply for any more loans to cover the cost, and you’ll have a much better credit score because of it. You’re trying to prepare yourself for living in the world of a competitive job market and getting mortgages, so do yourself a favor early on and always remember where you’re trying to get to.
Use everything the university you’re at has to offer to make sure you’re getting the most for your time and money. If the class you’re in is big enough to have a TA to help out, make sure you’re going to them when you need help, or something marking or evaluating. Keep up a good communication with your professor as well, and take any meetings you can get to see how you’re progressing.
Head Out to Free Activities
So beyond the realms of freshers week, in which everyone comes out to get to know campus life, the other students, and the glories of getting a cold, make sure you’re taking advantage of all the free events and clubs around the university. If you have something to do each night, you’re never going to get bored, and you won’t be tempted to spend even more money.
There’s usually quite a lot you can get yourself into that has free entry, or only requires a couple of dollars out of you. Plus, these kinds of activities can help you to lead a much healthier lifestyle in a time when your health is most likely going to be teetering on the edge. Things like fitness classes and free gym sessions, to hanging out with people of like minds in poetry clubs or attending stand up routines and trying your hand at improv.
Once you’ve found something you like, keep heading out to it to make sure your money is safe and secure in the bank. Of course you don’t have to sacrifice proper nights out as a result, just try to keep them to a minimum.
Get Some Membership Cards
When you’re a member of something, you’re going to get discounts, promotions sent right to your inbox, and even some freebies from time to time. So if you’re a student, make sure the world knows about it! Apply for every club or store card you come across to save as much money as possible, and build up points to even have your card pay for you.
Saving money when it comes to college is going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, but it’s going to be entirely worth it for your health and happiness.