Whether you're attending college fully in person or mostly online, one thing is certain: You’ll likely rack up a number of college-related expenses. From tuition to room and board to essential school supplies and more, college is often pricey, whether you’re going to school in-state, out of state or even a private school. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you make it through college while lowering your everyday expenses and reducing your long-term debt.
Find Ways to Save on the Most Common Expenses
Although tuition may be the big-ticket item when it comes to college expenses, other everyday expenses can quickly add up and lead to financial troubles if you’re not careful. Fortunately, with a little care, you can save money on common college costs.
For instance, skip the pricey dorm room and consider renting a room in a local complex. Instead of driving your own car, use a bus pass. Instead of purchasing new textbooks every semester, buy them used or rent them from the bookstore.
Research Your Loan Choices Carefully and Read the Fine Print
not alone according to one study, about one in eight Americans hold student loans. This means that if you decide to take out loans, you’re not alone. However, make sure to read the fine print! For instance, try to avoid:
• Taking out high-interest loans
• Taking on more loans than your estimated post-college salary will allow you to repay
• Choosing too aggressive of a payment or refinancing plan
Get a Part-Time Side Gig or Start Your Own Side Hustle
For many college students on a tight budget, taking on a part-time job or a side gig while in school can be a simple way to improve their finances. You can take on salaried positions or start a side hustle.
For example, you could work as a writer or a tutor, get a job as a virtual assistant, or offer pet-sitting services. You could even start a repair business and open up the possibility of maintaining a full-time operation later on. You’ll have an easier time getting work if you post your services on job board sites.
Another option is to launch a small startup. While there are costs associated with starting a business, there are also many online resources available to help you keep your costs down. Use an online startup cost calculator to get a rough idea of how much it will cost to launch your business. But don’t stop there. Consider applying for the Leangap program so you’ll have the guidance of experienced mentors to support you every step of the way.
Explore Little-Known Potential Funding Options
Private loans are a common route to paying for college, but they’re not the only option. In fact, some avenues may subsidize your education! To lower your own bills, you could:
• Apply for local, state, or federal tuition grants
• Explore different scholarship options and apply to one or several
• Research aid for students in your specific situation, such as aid directed at military families or international students
• Ask your college whether any work-study jobs that can partially cover your tuition costs are available
• Look into low-interest federal student loans that you can realistically pay off after graduation
Attend a School That Allows You to Keep Your Costs Low
Lastly, consider whether your chosen college is the best one for your budget. When in doubt, consider picking the school that lets you keep your costs low. You may choose to:
• Attend a school in your area
• Attend two years of community college before transferring to a four-year college
• Choose the school that offers you the best scholarship deal
• Live with relatives or friends to keep housing expenses down
Getting through college involves numerous expenses, from tuition and housing costs to school supplies and more. Fortunately, these handy tips can help you get your college education while sticking to a doable everyday budget.