Starving Student? 10 Ways to Save at School

Starving Student? 10 Ways to Save at School

Your ramen noodles stare up at you glumly. You stare back. If you hadn’t had an $800 bill for textbooks this semester, you wouldn’t be eating instant noodles with the nutritional value of a Styrofoam plate.

Education can be really expensive, and sometimes the thought of eating ramen for the rest of your life-just so you can pay off all of your school-related debt-can be overwhelming. Go to school without becoming a starving student. We’ve got the tips and tricks for surviving school without breaking the bank.

10 Tips for Student Savings

  1. Get a student loan. Many students need student loans in order to complete their education, especially if they’re going to an out-of-state school. Know that you’re not alone, and know that you’ve got options (and even benefits) for repaying your student debt quickly. Compare your offers-when you apply for student loans, you’ll have lots of options. Consider what you actually need, and don’t borrow more than that.
  2. Get scholarships and grants. You wouldn’t believe how much money schools are willing to give to students who work hard and do well. Keep your grades up, befriend professors and others in your department, and apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible. The cool thing about this kind of financial aid? It doesn’t have to be repaid.
  3. Decide how much you need to spend each month (tuition payments, room and board, transportation, books, etc.), and don’t forget extra expenses, like going out with friends and saving for your spring break vacation. Try to put aside a little money each month, and consider how you’ll begin to pay off your student debt. Stick with your budget-it will help you keep spending under control and save as much as possible. Also consider these money-saving hacks when you budget:
  • Walk, use public transportation, or bike before you drive
  • Cut out smoking and binge drinking
  • Don’t go grocery shopping while you’re hungry
  • Live with friends and split the costs of rent and amenities
  • Shop where you can get student discounts
  • Use a basic phone package
  • Cook with friends and split the costs of groceries
  • Become a resident assistant (RA) and get rent paid for you
  1. Work a part-time job. Schools usually limit the amount of hours that students are allowed to work on-campus, so you won’t get stuck with a bunch of extra hours (which cut into homework time). A part-time job will take the edge off of your bills and keep your student debt low.
  2. Buy used books. We weren’t kidding about that $800 book bill, so buy your books and other school supplies used and save a ton of money. and other companies offer great discounts and shipping costs for students, and keep an eye out for older students selling their books at a discounted price. Resell your own books at the end of the semester.
  3. Pay bills on time. Late bills equal extra fees and a damaged credit score. Contact your local loan center if you need extra cash to carry you over to paycheck time. Short-term cash advance loans are easy to get and easy to pay off, and they’ll help you avoid enormous late fees.
  4. Pay interest. Student loans are close to inevitable in today’s economy, but the interest rates can be really high. Try to begin paying off your student debt as soon as you incur it, even if you can only make very small payments at first. Paying off your interest early will keep your student debt manageable.
  5. Avoid using your credit card. Students can leave college with thousands of dollars of credit card debt-that’s thousands of dollars on top of your student debt. Prevent your spending from spiraling out of control. Use cash! Ensure a good credit score and only use your credit card when you are certain that you can pay off the debt you incur.
  6. Get help from your school’s financial aid center. If disaster strikes-like a death in the family, a sudden illness and consequent hospital bills, a car accident-you’d be surprised how understanding your school’s financial center can be. Talk to a financial aid counselor if you have an emergency.
  7. Do an internship. Did you know that 2 out of every 5 interns is offered a full-time position when they finish their internship? If you’ve got student debt, you don’t want to spend your first six months out of college looking for a job. Take internships, get real-time job experience, and prepare yourself to begin working immediately after graduation. Your school’s career center might also help you find the right post-grad job.

College is a time to make great friends and memories, explore new ideas, and develop your mind and talents. It shouldn’t be a time to starve slowly while fretting over your thousands of dollars of student debt. Take advantage of these money-saving tips, throw out the ramen, and enjoy your college experience.

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