As tuitions rise and state governments continue to cut budgets for higher education, seeing your way through college is becoming more and more challenging. You can either spend less or make more, preferably both. Here are some suggestions you might want to take a look at.
- Choose the right college and major – Tuition fees take the biggest bite out of a college student’s budget. PayScale 2012 rankings show big differences between private and public schools, as well as learning institutions by state. For instance, a Liberal Arts education at Lewis & Clark College (private) can cost you over $189,000 while one at Northern State University (public) will set you back by only $95,000 even if you’re out-of-state.
- Look for grants and scholarships – Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid at your school. Many colleges offer grants based on a student’s merit and need. Find out about institutional scholarships available at your university. Surf the web for government scholarships or contact organizations involved in your major field of study for third-party scholarships.
- Stick to federal loans – If you must take out a loan, avail of the lower interest rates of federal loans. They have easier repayment terms and some are interest-free as long as you’re enrolled.
- Rent textbooks or buy used ones – Textbooks and school supplies are another major item in a college budget. For both printed or ebooks, rent instead of buying. If you must buy, look for used books in college bookstores or over the internet. Keep the books you bought in good condition and sell them after you’re finished.
- Be a smart shopper – Food bills can eat up a lot of the budget. Look for bargains and discounts; make use of coupons and choose fresh foods over packaged items. Eat out during “happy hour”.
- Get student discounts from sites such as StudentsAdvantage.com. Save money on food, travel, school supplies and more.
- When you’re in the need for clothes, second hand shops, thrift stores and even yard sales can be a gold mine.
- Live rent free – If you can live at home with your parents or relatives rent free, by all means you should do so. An alternative for rent free accommodation is to find a house sitting job. House sitting is where home owners planning a trip or vacation, engage someone to live in and take care of their property and pets.
- Get paid for freelance writing. Sign up at sites like CollegeCopywriters.com where you can select writing assignments that match your skills.
- If you have special skills like fixing computers, repairing gadgets or even cars, earn extra income by putting your skills to work.
- Be a tutor. If Maths, Science or English is your strength, you can earn money tutoring students who need help.
- Find a part-time job – Use your spare time to work as a waiter, messenger, guitar player or whatever is available. One good way is to get a house sitting job which not only provides rent free accommodation but also pays for maintaining the property.
Mel Bridge discovered house sitting as a way to save on accommodation costs as well as provide a part time income while in college. Today he still uses house sitting for free accommodation when exploring different parts of the country. His preferred house sitting website is http://mindahome.com