It is no secret that a college degree is more important today than ever. In an ever changing economy, it is hard to make ends meet without having some sort of education that will help you obtain a better paying job. The problem is that many students don’t have the funds they need to be able to go to college. This creates a vicious cycle of poverty and need for many. The good news is that college can be affordable, if you focus on ways that you can cut down your spending. Here are a few ways that you can make college more affordable, ensuring you are able to pursue a higher education.
#1 – Get a Part Time Job While You Pursue Your Degree
Getting a part time job will not only help you to get some work history under your belt, but it will also help you to have some extra cash flowing in while you are going to school. Many college towns have resources that help students find jobs in the area that will fit their schedule. While you won’t want to put all of your focus into work, lacking when it comes to your academics, you can find a balance between the two. Finding something that is in your field of interest can also be beneficial; as it will help you get some hands on experience as you work towards your degree.
#2 – Save Money By Buying Used Textbooks for Cheap
These days, buying college textbooks can seem like highway robbery. The reality is that you will really only use those books for just a few months. Instead of buying your books from the campus bookstore, look for used books online. There are several sites that will help you to find good cheap used textbooks, including chegg.com and half.com, among others. You can also look on your campus bulletin board for used textbooks for sale. Buying used textbooks can often save you hundreds upon thousands of dollars throughout your college journey.
#3 – Avoid the Dorm Life and Live Off-Campus
Sure, living in the dorms can seem like a lot of fun, and many universities require entering Freshmen to live on campus. The truth is, living on campus in the dorms is much, much more expensive than living off campus. Look for a small apartment off campus, or even someone looking for a roommate. This will help you to cut down on your room and board costs, making college more affordable in the long run. There is also a lot more freedom that comes along with living off campus, which makes it a more attractive choice for many students.
#4 – Start Out at a Local Community College
Tuition and costs of attending a four year university can be very overwhelming. If you want to make your college experience more affordable, it may actually be a good idea to consider starting out at the community college level. If you go to a local community college, you will clearly save a great deal of money. Community college can mean all the difference between graduating with an average of $29k in federal and private student debt or graduating debt-free. While some people just want to move off to a university right away and start their college journey, it makes much more financial sense to stay close and get your basic courses out of the way. The good news is that community colleges aren’t lacking when it comes to extracurricular activities, so you won’t feel like you missed out by not diving head first into an expensive four year university.
#5 – Avoid Meal Plans with Outrageous Prices
Everyone jokes about college kids eating ramen noodles and spaghetti out of a can, but the truth is that eating cheap while you are in college can be an excellent way to spend less money. You don’t have to eat cereal everyday to save money. One of the easiest ways to eat cheap is to skip out on the meal plans that your school has to offer. The school doesn’t want you to know this, because it cuts into their profits, but meal plans are outrageously priced. If you have to have a meal plan, go with the most basic plan and make sure that you take advantage of the meals that come with it. A lot of college kids opt for a meal plan, and then turn around and go out to eat with friends anyway- throwing that money away.
As you can see, there are definitely some great ways to make college more affordable. The key is to ensure that you look for ways that you can save money. We have given you a few ideas when it comes to cutting down your spending while you go through college, but we are sure that you can come up with other ways to save money. Make a budget each month, and try to stick with it. We know that college is a lot of fun, and you will want to go out and do things with your friends, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune doing it.