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Avoiding Debt

As a college student, there’s no doubt you may end up with student debt. Almost all college students will receive some form of student loan during their college career. After graduation, this debt can sometimes seem overwhelming; but fortunately, there are ways to relieve some of the debt and the stress that goes along with it. By following a few simple tips, you can avoid student loan debt, or at least make it more bearable.

  • Save your money as early on as possible. By saving your cash before and during college, you can help to repay those loans much more quickly once they become due. Get a part time job, have a yard sale, or begin a savings account so that you will have extra money to pay off the loans and payments that will quickly accumulate.
  • Take your time, and don’t be in a hurry. While everyone wants to graduate and get a new career as soon as possible, it is important to keep in mind that the longer you’re enrolled, the longer you can put off repaying those loans. Try out part time school, and work part time if you can. While this method won’t work for everyone, it can help ease the stress of being a full time student while allowing you to earn money and get a jump-start on paying back your loans.
  • Get as many scholarships as you can. The difference between loans and scholarships is that you won’t have to pay those scholarships back. There are literally hundreds of different types available, so look into these as soon as possible. The more you are awarded, the less money you’ll have to dish out to student loans. Even if you earn a couple of smaller scholarships, every little bit helps to whittle down that student loan balance.
  • Become an intern. A lot of internships are unpaid, but there are also many that do pay. It might not earn you as much as a full time career, but you will be able to simultaneously earn a paycheck and gain important experience along the way. Do your homework, and try to find an internship with a local company that offers positions for college students.
  • Get granted a grant. Similar to scholarships, grants do not have to be paid off and can go towards your college education. The government offers several different grants, but be sure to pay close attention to the guidelines before applying. Grants are typically given to people who have certain financial difficulties, while scholarships are given to people who have different abilities in things like sports, the arts, writing, or other facets. Your financial aid counselor can walk you through the grant application process, and see if you qualify.

Aside from paying off those student debts, you will need money while you’re in school. College students are usually on a tight budget. Between paying for books, room, and board as well as hanging out with friends and of course, pizza, college can be quite expensive. It is a good idea to learn how to budget your money before you get to school so you don’t end up in debt or short at the end of each month when it comes time to pay your bills. Here are a few tips to help you budget your money while in school.

  • Avoid tempting credit cards. Credit card companies often prey on college students. Avoid applying for one if possible, or else you will most likely end up with more debt than just student loans. Credit cards can be great in an emergency, but they can also be very tempting, especially when you want to buy that pizza or go out for a night on the town.
  • Write down your expenses. Budgeting is the key to saving money, and to being able to pay bills on time. Write down every bill you have, as well as money you spend weekly or monthly on extra things like food, clothes, and hanging out. When you can see everything in front of you, it’s easier to figure out how much extra you will have to spend.
  • Buy your own food. Try to avoid going out to dinner often, and stay away from fast food. If you live in the dorms, stick with eating at the school cafeteria since most colleges add that in to your tuition fees anyway. If you live on your own, buy groceries and make your meals at home. Not only is it healthier, it costs less too.
  • Get your textbooks used. Books are a huge part of college expenses. Most school book stores have used sections where your textbooks can cost a fraction of the cost new. Look online as well; many websites sell textbooks there used for a great price.

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