For many Americans, student loan debt is a heavy burden that stays with us for a number of years. Often times we hear horror stories of people amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt for a degree that may never pay off. Then, they often get fast cash with payday loans online especially on family emergencies. Well, regardless of what sort of degree you pursue or what school you choose to go to, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to avoid building up nearly as much debt.
The biggest thing I’ve learned in the six years I spent pursuing three separate degrees (English, Foreign Language, and Business) is that the hardest thing to do is budget for college accurately. Often times we go into it thinking that tuition is going to be the bulk of our expenses. This is where we usually get duped. Besides tuition, secondary expenses like food, housing, and supplies eat up a lot of money. In my experience it is best to budget another 20 percent on top of whatever your tuition bill is.
The biggest cost for college students besides actual tuition is housing. In the two years I’ve worked for my university, the common comment I hear from students is about the amount of money spent either paying rent for near campus allotted housing, or the extra money added on to their tuition bill for staying in a dorm room. Student housing can run up to as much as a full house payment depending on the type of accommodations you choose. The best way to avoid this expense is to either live at home (sorry to any parents reading this) or to live with roommates so that the expenses are decidedly lower.
Another big college expense is food; yes, that’s right, food. University meal plans can be expensive, especially considering how busy the average student is and how little they actual get used. If you add on top of that the likelihood of eating out at fast food restaurants or dine-in places, you have one major headache coming your way when it comes time to pay the bills. The best way to avoid this is to either opt out of university meal plans and eat at home, or if you’re stuck paying for it, going for an all-inclusive dining pass that allows you to eat whenever and wherever on campus you would like.
The third major expense is supplies. Supplies can be anything from books and pencils to exam booklets cliff notes and lab equipment. The problem with budgeting for supplies is, you don’t really know until you start the class. The biggest way to avoid sticker shock is to ask questions, look up what books are required and where to get them, buy supplies early and in bulk and talk to your teacher to find out any special requirements. Once you have a solid list in hand, you can begin shopping early and be more selective.
Now that we have a better budget that lets us control how much we borrow, instead of borrowing $10,000, we can borrow $7,000, which over four years can make a major difference. As you get accustomed to the ins and outs of your particular university, you can plan better and tailor your spending habits accordingly, in the end you can turn a six figure student loan debt into a much more manageable number.