Now more than ever, a higher education degree is an essential ticket to the American Dream. It can literally add millions of dollars of earnings over the course of a lifetime.
At the same time, it is also an extraordinarily expensive endeavor. Here at J.G. Wentworth, the nationwide leader in purchasing future structured settlement and annuity payments for cash, we receive calls from folks around the country looking to pay for their own college costs, or to help pay for the education of a loved one. In honor of their dedication and pursuit of a better life – and with the knowledge that saving every hard-earned dollar truly matters – today we thought we could try to help students save money while still in school. Here are our 8 tips on how to budget for spring semester:
1) Consider Junior College for certain courses
Courses at junior colleges can cost a fraction of the amount as they might at a four-year institution. Always make sure your particular school accepts credit from alternative programs, but if they do, finding courses at a junior college in your area will represent substantial savings over the course of your academic career.
2) Purchase used textbooks, or rent them
Even in this day and age, too many professors require textbooks that are priced far too high for the average student. Rather than going to debt, look into purchasing used textbooks, renting them from established vendors, or buying them jointly with your fellow attendees of the class.
3) Pay your credit card bills on time
It may not seem like it, but now is the crucial time to begin establishing a solid credit rating. Pay your credit card bills on time and avoid accumulating too much debt.
4) Skip cable
Being a student is your job, and avoiding distractions – especially expensive ones – is your best strategy to doing it well. Either cut out that cable bill entirely or purchase one jointly with roommates.
5) Make Craigslist your friend
Especially on college campuses, Craigslist and student online networks are great places to find and purchase used items.
6) Participate in school and student-run activities
On an almost nightly basis, just about every college campus offers a wide range of activities for their student body. If they are not free, your student ID should enable you to attend at extremely reasonable prices.
7) Look into becoming a dorm counselor
Does free room and board interest you? What about adding onto your work experience and resume? Becoming a dorm counselor and/or Resident Advisor will accomplish both of these things simultaneously – and you may enjoy it besides.
8) Get good grades
Last but certainly not least is perhaps the most essential tip of all: to make the most of your education by studying hard and earning good grades. Whatever your professional pursuit, a solid GPA shows evidence of hard work, intelligence, and determination, and could easily translate to added income within months of graduation!
We hope these eight tips will help you get a great jump on saving some real money both in the short and long-term as you continue with your college career. And if you are continuing to have problems paying for your higher education, and are currently receiving or scheduled to receive money from a structured settlement or annuity, please feel free to contact J.G. Wentworth anytime to discuss your options on getting that money now instead of later. Call us anytime at 877-227-4713.