College Advice Blog

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Apr 12, 2012

5 Easy Ways to Maintain a College Budget


Going to college can provide you with the tools that you need to live a successful life once you get out into the real world. While college can be fun and productive, it can also be very expensive. If you're trying to live on a budget while you are taking classes, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Learn the Rules of Your Loans
When you're in college, you need to take a practical course called College Loans 101. While your college probably doesn't offer this one, you do need to do a little bit of research on the terms of your student loans before you get too far along. For example, most federal student loans will allow you to defer interest payments until after you are out of school. If you qualify for subsidized loans, you can even get the government to pay your interest for you while you're in school. Do some checking to see if you qualify for this type of loan so that you don't have to come up with money out of your own pocket while in college.
  • Student Discounts
Although you need to save money while in college, it doesn't mean that you can't have any fun. Many of the places that you need to go around campus will offer student discounts. For example, many of the movie theaters in college towns have student discounts that allow you to get movie tickets for cheaper than you would normally pay. You could save on many things from books, to food to supplies with these discounts.  Just make sure to always keep your student I.D. handy.
  • Get a Roommate
While you might like the idea of living on your own in college, getting a roommate can significantly cut down on your living expenses. Not only will getting a roommate reduce your rent, it should also decrease the amount you pay in utilities while also giving yourself a bit more living space.
  • Walk or Bike
Even if you have a cool car, consider walking or biking around campus. You'll be able to save quite a bit of money on gas and parking expenses. On many campuses, it's hard to find a legitimate place to park. If you are caught parking somewhere you're not supposed to park, the parking tickets can add up quick.
  • Avoid Credit Cards
Many college students are signing up for credit cards so they can have an easy way to pay for expenses while they're at school. Try to avoid this temptation because the interest charges can really add up and eat into your budget.
While debt such as student loans is expected for nearly every college grad, amounting large sums of credit card debt and bleeding your savings account dry are feats no college student should be attempting.  Play it smart, and always keep an eye on your budget so that when you get out of college, you aren't burdened by additional debt.
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