Congratulations! You have been accepted into the college of your choice and now you are ready to take a momentum step towards your future. Hopefully, your parents or guardian help you in you educational endeavors and literacy development. Your excitement is at an all-time high, you are making sure you are putting all the important dates regarding orientation and start dates on your calendar, and you are purchasing all the college attire you can to show your school pride.
This is all so exciting, and something you should allow yourself to enjoy, but before you keep indulging in this great moment, you need to remember and remind yourself, that college is EXPENSIVE. Here are five good ways to make sure your college experience is not overshadowed by the cost of it!
From before starting college to being an active student, you are able to apply for as many scholarships as you possibly can. Scholarships are available to anyone, you do not have to be a genius to receive one, this is a great way to fund your education without having to waste money. Look for scholarships in your area and grants from local businesses, organizations, schools, and more, these types of scholarships will look for other things besides grades, they will also look at community service, your need for it, and more. Scholarships can be awarded for many reasons, it is up to you, to keep looking for those scholarships and opportunities.
- Lookup lists of scholarships you may be eligible for.
- Reach out to your financial aid office for possible opportunities.
Growing up you might have had an allowance given to you by your parents, or your bank was your parents, now that you will be attending college, you will not have someone managing your money or saving it for you, you will have to focus on spending money correctly and more importantly how not to run out of money. Budgeting is something everyone struggles with but if you start early you will become a budgeting expert and more importantly, you will know how to manage your college expenses.
- Calculate your money or income, maybe you are working a job or already have savings, you want to look at this as a whole. This will help you in subtracting your expenses.
- Look at realistic expenses you may have:
- Gas and car insurance: this is if you are not within walking distance from where you live.
- Bills which would include your phone, utilities, and rent.
- School supplies would include your books, backpack, pens, pencils, laptop and refurbished gear if needed.
- Fun and entertainment, at the end of the day, you want to enjoy your college experience.
- Once you subtract your expenses, you will have a good look at your monthly budget which will help you budget accordingly.
- Track everything you spend your money on, this will help you every month to reallocate your budget.
At first, this may be hard as we sometimes just live in the moment, but this is a great way to lay a budgeting foundation for yourself so that you can help yourself and budget correctly as the months pass.
Now that you know to keep applying for scholarships and to know that you must be budgeting, like a small business budgets its finances so as to tide over bad days, you need to make sure you are doing things smart, especially when it comes to college life. One of the most expensive things a student will waste money on if not done smart will be books and class supplies. The great thing you can do for yourself makes tons of friends, and here is why.
- Some professors use the same books every semester, reaching out to friends and students in social groups who have already taken that class may save you money sometimes they may give the book for free or at a discounted price.
- Look for PDFs, this is also a cheaper way to get your hands on books, sometimes you will even find them for free.
- Get an older copy of the book, ask your professor first.
- Ask past students if you really need the book, this is another reason to make sure you make friends!
- If your personal items need upgrades, try looking for sales or other student discounts. Doing this will really help your wallet out!
Your Living Situation
Living at home or at an apartment is a great way to keep your spending down but that is not always the case if your college is in another state that is out of the question. You want to find the perfect and most economical place for yourself.
- If you want to cut costs down, look for someone needing a roommate close to the college, this will cut your costs in half, and may even give you a best friend!
- Look for something close by, preferably, within walking distance, this may also cut down on gas costs.
- Compare energy providers and find out how you can cut your electricity bill.
Where you live is important as this is not only a big expense but also where you will be living for the term of your lease, when you are looking for a place, make sure you do your research from what you are looking for to the actual application and screening process.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
College expenses can be daunting for many. Remember to take care of your mental health. There are many ways you can prevent and cope with mental health.
- Go to yoga classes
- Eat well, including taking in the health benefits of salt and vitamins
- Practice mediation
- Reach out to your professor for advice
- Get enough sleep every night
Now that you have 4 ways to help you manage your money and help you navigate and live in a way that won’t break your bank, the last thing you can do to make college cheaper is to look at ways to help you finish college quicker.
- Reach out to your advisor for ways on doing so.
- Accelerated semesters or programs.
- Summer courses.
- Take as many credits as you can.
The way this can help you is by even cutting off a whole semester from your expenses, although college can be tons of fun, your ultimate goal is to get your degree, this will help you in doing so and keeping your focus on the goal.
You are now ready to go back to enjoying your high and be excited for this next chapter in your life!