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Starving Student: How College Kids Can Stretch Their Finances (234 hits)

Money can be a stressful subject for college students. Tuition alone can be a big expense, and you also have books, school supplies and living expenses to pay for. And all the hours you spend at school and studying makes it hard to work enough to cover your bills. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can make your money go further as a college student, and even small savings will add up. Use these tips to stretch your finances and get more out of every dollar.

Apply for Financial Aid Early

Nothing beats free money, and there are a wide range of grants and scholarships available to college students. The key to getting the maximum potential financial assistance is completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible every year. The FAFSA used to open on January 1 before each school year, which meant that you fill it out for the 2015-2016 school year on January 1, 2015. That has changed, and it now opens three months earlier each year on October 1. Although the deadline is long after this, many states and schools have earlier deadlines. In many cases, students who submit their FAFSAs earlier also receive priority for financial aid.

Shop around for the Best Deals on Books

Textbooks are one of the biggest expenses youíll have every semester, but if you shop around, you could save hundreds of dollars. Youíll get a much better deal when you buy books used instead of new. Another option is renting books instead of buying them. However, buying your books is good because you can resell them after the semester. If there are multiple editions of a textbook available, ask the professor if the most recent edition is necessary. There are often only minor changes from one edition to another, and if an older edition will suffice, you can likely get that cheaper than the latest edition.

Get a Personal or Payday Loan

If youíre short on money and you have tuition or other school expenses due, a payday loan in Dallas, TX is a convenient way to cover those costs. You can apply for one in person or online, and upon approval, it typically only takes three to five business days for your loan to get funded. Since you can pay your loan back in installments and the interest rate wonít be too high, this tends to be a better option that using a credit card.

Consider Alternate Transportation

Driving to school may be the most convenient option, but itís also typically the most expensive. Gas, insurance, parking and any maintenance your car needs can cost you quite a bit every month, whereas public transportation may not even cost you $1 per day. Even though it takes longer to get to school on public transportation, you can use that time for homework and studying. If you live close enough to school, walking or biking there wonít cost you a thing, and both are good ways to stay in shape. Another option is carpooling with other students.

Try Meal Prepping

Eating well is a common issue among college students, especially freshmen. When youíre away from the comforts of home, itís easy to fall into the trap of making poor food choices by eating too much junk food and fast food. Not only are those unnecessary expenses, but theyíre also very unhealthy. Youíll save money and eat healthier if you learn a few inexpensive basic meals that you can prepare in advance. All you need to do is cook a large amount of food, store it in the fridge and divide it into individual portions when youíre ready for a meal. Make sure to use plenty of healthy ingredients that donít cost much to buy in bulk, such as rice and beans.

Depending on your course load, your work situation and what school youíre going to, you may need to take on some student loan debt to graduate. But if you follow the right financial strategies during your time in college, you can at least minimize how much you end up borrowing to get your degree.
Posted By: Rachelle Wilber
Tuesday, December 12th 2017 at 5:18PM
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