How to Save or Work, and Minimize Student Loans. Yes, You Can Do It All.
By LaTisha D. Styles, millennial-minded blogger & voice of YoungFinances.com, a platform where readers with very little knowledge of financial markets can learn to invest and manage their money. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Trying to save money while in college can be a bit stressful. Well, let me re-phrase that.
Trying to save money while in college can be so stressful that you wonder why you decided to go to college in the first place. But as a successful college student, you've learned that every stressful situation has a no-stress hack –
- Major exam? All nighter.
- Closet full of dirty clothes? Pajama pants in class.
In addition to these lifehacks, there are no-stress hacks for college students who want to save money. You can use these to minimize the need for student loans and even while working a job.
Borrowing money to pay for college is pretty common. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the school year 2010-2011, 85% of full time 4-year undergrad students received some sort of financial aid. Typical student loan hacks include applying for scholarships and grants. But let's say that you have already applied for all of the funds you are eligible to receive and you are still short of the tuition cost. What now? Why not shop around?
Starting at a 2-year college could save you thousands of dollars. After two years, simply transfer to the 4 year college. You will have the same degree as your classmates and a lot less debt. If you are already committed to the 4-year college then here is a simple tip to save money and minimize your need for student loans.
But it's going to require commitment. Yes, I'm talking about more hours.
Registering for more classes each semester can drastically reduce the cost of college. Most colleges do not charge for extra classes once you are registered for a “full load.” If you are a full-time student without a side job, a “full load” will likely leave you with plenty of time for an additional class or two. For example, my alma mater considers 12 hours to be a full load. That's 4 classes. Roughly one hour each, three times a week. I registered for 15 hours and only had to pay for 12. That's one free class! If you use this technique each semester, in two years you avoid an entire 4 class semester. Add summers and you get out of school an entire year early, saving thousands!
But what if you are determined to work while in college? You need a different approach to save money.
How to Save Money While Working Part or Full Time
I worked part time during college and, at one point, I had three part-time jobs. Those textbooks don't pay for themselves, ya know!
Working to pay for school is also pretty common these days, especially if you want to avoid student loans. But what if you have to pay for your personal expenses? Here's an easy budget hack to help you save money: Institute No Spend Saturday
Free time often means spend time. Trips to the mall, outings with friends, and Saturday matinees all add up, and quickly. Choose one or two Saturdays during the month and commit to spending zero dollars. Pretty soon, finding free or cheap entertainment will be second nature.
Being a broke college student is hard but there are easy ways to save money. Keep in mind these easy saving tricks and broke will be a thing of the past!