8 Tips for Going Back to College on a Strict Budget

1.8 million students graduate from college every year. Is this your dream? To walk with your graduating class and hold your college degree in your hand? A college degree offers many opportunities and is a requirement for many jobs.

8 Tips for Going Back to College on a Strict Budget

Unfortunately, attending college isn’t cheap.

There are many college expenses you need to plan out and studying full-time means you’ll have to take time out of working and earning income.

If you already tried attending college and felt the burn of financial hardships, you can remember these budgeting tips your second time around.

If you’re going back to college, remember these 8 college budgeting tips.

1. Know What Expenses to Expect

Knowing how much you need to spend each semester decreases any surprise expenses and serious financial loss.

What are some of these expenses? Always plan out the cost of room and board each month, necessary textbooks and school supplies, and transportation costs if you live off-campus.

There are additional ways you can save on these normal expenses.

For example, you can opt for used or cheap textbooks instead of brand new textbooks. If you need specific software, such as graphic design software for design majors, you can often purchase a software plan with a student discount.

2. Ask for Help

There’s no shame in asking a parent or family member to help fund your education. If they can’t pay for your whole tuition, at least ask if they can give you borrow for textbooks or even for small expenses such as gas or food.

You don’t have to ask your parents to fund your education. But do you still need help?

See if your parents if you can stay on their car insurance or if you can live at their house while you’re studying. This way, you don’t have to worry about these extra expenses.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Savings

Was a semester more expensive than expected?

Did you have a higher bill than usual?

For these instances, don’t be afraid to dip in your savings. While no one likes the thought of losing their hard-earned saving funds, your savings is going to good use when used toward your education.

The key when taking money out of your savings is to put money back in.

This is essential when you enter your career and start earning more money. Use that bigger salary toward adding back to your savings rather than spending excess money.

4. Cut Back On Spending

Do you not have savings? You may need to cut back on spending.

Live below your means.

Only buy whatever groceries are necessary. Don’t go out with friends and avoid drinking and partying. You should also avoid campus events that require you to spend money. Don’t buy useless items and don’t waste money.

Other useful tips include cooking instead of eating out and canceling memberships such as Netflix (besides, college students don’t have time to binge-watch TV).

5. Take Advantage of College Perks

Many colleges offer perks for students.

Examples include an affordable meal plan, free entertainment, and even small tokens such as free coffee for students taking morning classes.

Some colleges offer additional perks, such as a gym membership, sports and concert tickets, and free access to the library and various museums.

These perks may seem small but they help you financially. For example, you can save a couple hundred a year by using the school’s gym instead of a big box gym.

Instead of spending an evening out at an expensive restaurant or bar, your student ID may grant you free admission to an art museum.

6. Use Student Discounts

You’ll be surprised how many places offer student discounts. From restaurants to clothing stores, student discounts are becoming more commonplace. Most of these discounts are as little as 10%, but this is still money you’re saving.

Before shopping or eating out, research the businesses that offer student discounts and support those businesses.

Student discounts aren’t limited to brick-and-mortar and small businesses. Major businesses such as Amazon offer perks for students, such as free memberships and discounted products.

7. Sell Items

If you’re still struggling to keep up with your expenses, you can sell items to make a little extra cash. Selling extra items is easier than ever. You can sell old technology devices such as a laptop or cell phone, furniture, and even your car.

You can even sell back your textbooks and make a little bit of a profit. If your textbook is in good condition and you barely used it, you can sell it for close to the amount that you paid for it.

8. Work Full-Time

If all else fails, you may have to work full-time while going to school.

This is difficult, especially if you’re studying full-time to get your degree fast. You may be stressed and sleep-deprived, but at least you can ensure you have enough money for bills and college expenses.

If you don’t need to work full-time, consider part-time work.

Many restaurants and stores need part-time workers for the weekends and evenings. Side gigs such as Uber are also very popular because of their decent pay and flexible schedules.

Going Back to College Doesn’t Mean You Should Go Broke

Are you going back to college? There are many ways you can budget and make extra cash to afford your education. From working full-time to planning your expenses, getting your education doesn’t require going broke.

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