Unless you are on a full-ride scholarship or your parents are footing the bill, you are probably going to graduate from college with a fair amount debt. And since there’s nothing worse than having your student loan payments rival your rent for the biggest robber of your bank account, here are some pointers on how to leave college with less debt
Rent your books-
Do not buy your books, and especially don’t buy your books from the college bookstore. Chances are the same exact textbook is available to rent on Amazon for a fraction of the cost. This has saved me thousands, seriously thousands of dollars in my time as a student. Also, if you are choosing between 2 courses, take a look at the required material, sometimes the difference could be a couple hundred dollars in books.
Buy food in bulk-
I know you want to go out to eat with your friends at every cafe and pizza spot, but these add up. So, skip the hefty dinner check and stock your kitchen with foods you know you can make meals out of. Think white rice, Costco size bags of frozen chicken breasts, and huge containers of oatmeal. It may not be glamorous, but cooking for yourself 5 nights a week, adds up to major savings.
Only take the bare minimum-
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s tempting to accept the extra amount of loan money for living expenses. But, I promise you will regret it because this choice piles on the debt like no other. So, if there is any way you can make your rent payment on your own, only take the amount you need to pay for tuition.
Work your activities into your degree-
I wish I would have known about this hack sooner. College would have been much more fun. Go to your academic advisor and find out how many credits you have that can be filled with electives. Then scan the course catalog and pick your dream class. Mine was backpacking. I earned 3 credits to do an activity I usually spend my own money on to do on the weekends.
Take classes your friends have taken-
No this isn’t so you can ask your friends for help on the assignments. By taking classes your friend has already taken, you not only get a free tutor, but they will most likely have the books from last semester, and free is free right?
I know this is a downer, but the truth is partying costs money. There’s the booze, the club cover charges, the late night fast food stop, not to mention the cost of transportation if you don’t have a DD. I’m not saying you have to be sober for 4 years to save a buck, just pick your moments.
Come prepared for long days-
The amount of money the vending machines in UAA’s English building has made from me is sickening, and I’m a health nut. It boils down to one thing, know how long your school day will be and come prepared. Bring snacks from home, or even full-on dinners, whatever it takes to stop piling money into vending machines and campus cafes. A very smart way to leave college with less debt.
Look for internships-
You should look into internships as soon as you’ve picked your major. Your school may offer internships at discounted rates per credit, but even if you only find a nonpaying position, this sets you up to have the experience you need when you finish school and makes the transition to a paying job quicker.
Work for the school-
Find out what student jobs are offered by the school. They will probably work with your schedule more than a normal position and they help earn some extra income along the way. Also, you may even meet people who become a part of your network, which is invaluable. Definitely a great way to leave college with less debt and gain some great experience.
Know what you want and plan ahead-
I’m not saying that you can never change your major, but be aware that indecision leads to debt. Every class you take should work towards your degree, otherwise, you are just pouring money down the drain. Meet with your adviser every semester and make sure you are choosing the right courses.
What do you think of these ways to leave college with less debt? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image source: wehearit.com
Hi, I am Nancy Strahan. I recently graduated with my BA in English Literature and am working to gain experience in the writing/content creation business. I was born and raised in Alaska and I love it here. I am pretty much an outdoor and adrenaline junkie, so if it is crazy or in nature, I'm there. So, naturally all things camping, backpacking, and adventure related are my favorite topics to write about.