The beginning of college is a terrifically exciting time in a young person’s life. Whether you are going away for school, or remain at home while you attend school during the day, you’ll be given far more independence than you’ve ever had, and the ability to make numerous choices without an adult peering constantly over your shoulder.
But there is a cost to this excitement – specifically, all the costs associated with a higher education. While some of these expenses cannot be avoided, a savvy first-year college student can make a number of smart choices that can add up to hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars of savings over time. Here are six of our favorite tips on ways first-year college students can save:
1) Take community college courses
The cost difference between courses at a four year school and a two year school can be enormous. There is no reason you cannot take entry level courses at a community college and save anywhere from approximately ten to thirty five thousand dollars each of those first two years, than transfer those credits to a four year school the beginning of your junior year.
2) Minimize credit card purchases
According to some studies, the average college student graduates with $2,200 in credit card debt – which doesn’t even take into account student loans. Avoid this by keeping that card inside your pocket and using it only when you have to!
3) Continue seeking alternative money sources after beginning school
Scholarships, grants and financial aid possibilities do not just disappear once you enter college. Maintain contact with your school’s financial aid office after enrollment to see what opportunities may be available to you.
4) Live frugally – while still having fun
Keeping that credit card in your pocket does not mean stifling every urge to have a good time. College students can avail themselves of numerous on and off-campus resources and discounts. Sports games, lectures, plays, movie tickets, museums, travel – the list of opportunities for college students to enjoy these activities at discounted rates is extensive. Do your research and you’ll be surprised how much fun you can actually have!
5) Shop around
It’s always tempting to rush out and buy what you need, but on a college campus the better choice is to see if other students may already have what you need and are trying to sell their stuff. Check out Craigslist, college newspapers, and dormitory bulletin boards, among other sources, to see what may be to your liking.
6) Earn good grades
Last but certainly not least is a tip that seems unrelated to living cheaply your first year but may, in fact, be worth more in the long run than all the other tips put together: Earn good grades. The reality is that in today’s society where you go to school is frequently less important than how well you do when you are there, and career centers, employment agencies, and hiring companies will consistently look at a grade point average to help them determine a potential employee’s diligence and work ethic – potentially saving you much more money in the long run by getting you the best job at the best salary.
We hope these 6 tips get you started on saving money from your very first day as a student – and set you on the road towards a financially successful path not just through college but beyond it. And if you remain concerned about your higher education expenses, and are either currently receiving or scheduled to receive money from a structured settlement or annuity, feel free to call J.G. Wentworth anytime at 877-227-4713.