College is an exciting time for students – especially younger students who are just now experiencing the world on their own – but unfortunately, it’s also a time when students rack up debt.
Follow these tips to avoid accumulating too much financial obligation and finding yourself swimming in a sea of debt once you graduate.
- Apply for All Applicable Scholarships and Grants
Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants leave you debt free because you don’t have to pay them back.
However, scholarships and grants aren’t free. You still have to work for them (whether in the form of getting good grades, playing sports, or providing a work service to the college), but as long as you stick to the requirements, you’ll leave school without owing much money, if any at all.
- Consider Working and Attending School Part-Time
Many students get part-time jobs during college. This money can help pay upfront for school expenses such as tuition and books, food, and transportation.
Furthermore, attending school part-time while you have a job can help you earn even more money (you’ll have more time to work) which also allows you to save more money and pay for more school expenses upfront.
- Use Your School’s Meal Plan
The cost of food can knock a serious dent in your bank account. Most colleges and universities include a meal plan as part of tuition; of course, sometimes this is optional. If you’ve chosen a meal plan through your college, your food costs are already budgeted. So, instead of spending your money on tons of groceries or quick-and-easy fast food, use your meal plan to eat food that’s already paid for through your tuition.
- Live In the Dorms for as Long as Possible
Like meal plans, dorms are often included in tuition if you choose to live on campus. Make this choice for as long as possible. Sure, you’re paying for the dorms, but again, like meal plans, that cost is budgeted in with your tuition, meaning you don’t have to worry about next month’s rent or utilities.
If you must live off-campus (not all schools offer dorms), consider getting a roommate to help with rent and other living expenses.
- Purchase Used Textbooks
Once you get your book list for the semester, check with your school’s bookstore for used textbooks. Most colleges and universities buy back books at the end of each semester and, as long as they’re in fair shape, re-sell them at the beginning of the next semester.
On that note, don’t forget to sell back your used books at the end of the semester!
- Use Alternate Modes of Transportation
If you don’t have a car, don’t rush out to buy one and rack up debt just yet.
Often, living in the dorms or a nearby apartment means you can walk or ride a bike to class; or, if your city offers them, you can buy bus or subway passes to get you through the semester. Generally, these cost less than purchasing fuel, paying for insurance, and dealing with vehicle maintenance.
Keep in mind, even if you do own a vehicle, you can save money on gas and maintenance if you use alternate modes of transportation.
- Pay Attention to Your Social Life
Although you’re there to get an education and real-world training, college is also a time to meet new people and begin your life as an adult. However, social lives can get pretty expensive. Consider limiting the number of nights you go out each month, and look for closer-to-campus, free events with which to get involved.
- Avoid Credit Cards
Credit card companies are notorious for offering credit cards to college students, and unfortunately, college students are notorious for abusing their credit cards.
Yet, by following each of the tips above, you can avoid using your credit card often – and possibly avoid getting one altogether.
Are You the Victim of Debt Collection Abuse?
If debt collectors have taken over your mail and phone, consider hiring a skilled attorney who specializes in debt collection abuse. You’re obligated to pay your debts, but you aren’t obligated to deal with abuse from credit collection agencies.
Serving the Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach areas, the law offices of Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton are here to help you. Give us a call at (904) 398-2212or contact us online today for a free consultation concerning your possible debt collection abuse situation.