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Last updated Oct. 29, 2022 by Charles Zemub
If you’re a college student, you probably already know that student loan debt can be overwhelming. The average college graduate today has $37,172 in student loan debt, which is only getting higher each year. If you want to avoid racking up this type of debt yourself, use these tips to help cut back on spending during your time in school:
Consider Community College.
It’s a common misconception that community college is for people who can’t get into or afford a four-year university. It may be the best place to start if you don’t know what career path you want to pursue.
Community colleges offer excellent academic programs and lower tuition rates than four-year institutions.
Community colleges also allow students to try out different majors before committing to one; if you decide your original major isn’t right for you, switching back after two years of classes at a community college could save thousands of dollars in tuition fees—and the cost of attending regular sessions at another school later on.
Grants are the most common form of student aid and are free! The money comes directly from the government, so you don’t have to pay it back.
These grants are awarded based on a variety of factors:
- Financial need—if you can’t afford to pay for school, you could get a grant that pays for everything from tuition and books to transportation. You’ll have to complete some paperwork and submit it with your application materials.
- Academic achievement—if you’ve been getting top grades at school or performed well on standardized tests, grants may be available for low-income students who excel academically and those who show leadership potential or talents like musical ability or sports prowess.
If your family income falls below certain thresholds (depending on what state or territory you live in), then free money might be available regardless of whether your academic record is good enough.
In addition to scholarships, there are plenty of other ways to avoid student loan debt. For example:
Financial aid offices can help you find and apply for scholarships. They often have various resources available, from the school’s internal awards to external organizations that offer scholarship opportunities.
Your local community college will likely have many scholarships for its students.
Check Out Work-Study Options.
Work-study is a type of financial aid that allows students to earn money in school. It’s a great way to make money while in school, but it can also be used to repay student loans. A work-study job requires a certain amount of work hours per week and pays an hourly wage instead of a salary.
If you qualify for work-study, think about ways you can get involved with your university’s career development center or department office (usually located on campus). This will help ensure that your employer doesn’t need additional paperwork from them when you apply for the position.
Pay in Installments.
One of the best ways to avoid student loan debt is to pay in installments rather than all at once. You can do this by setting up a monthly payment plan with your lender or simply paying your credits off in separate payments over time (and make sure they’re on time!).
To get started, call the company that holds your loan(s) and ask them how much money you owe. Then, divide that amount by 12 months — this figure represents how much you should pay each month.
For example: if you owed $15000 as a result of student loans taken out during university and decided that I wanted to pay them off sooner rather than later (which wouldn’t be too hard considering my interest rate was only 7%.)
You would divide $15000 by 12 months which equals about $1250 per month for a total cost of $15000 over 36 months ($375 per month). If we could offer just one thing from our personal experience here at [company name], it would be this: take care of yourself first.
Cut costs while you’re in school.
Use your student ID to get discounts at local businesses. Take advantage of the library’s resources. Ask your professors if you can do group projects instead of individual assignments.
Get a part-time job that pays more than minimum wage and learn how to manage the extra money wisely (which we’ll discuss in #7).
Use your student discount to buy textbooks and other school supplies, or even nicer clothes and shoes for yourself (don’t forget about free shipping!).
Talk to Your Employer About Education Benefits.
You can also talk to your employer about benefits available through them. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement, which means they’ll pay for your education expenses. Others offer tuition assistance, typically a lump sum of money paid out at the end of the year that you can use for all kinds of things, including paying for education expenses like books and supplies.
If your employer offers some tuition reimbursement or assistance program, take advantage of it! You’re already working hard at a job you love (or one you’re just getting started in), so why not invest in yourself?
Plus, depending on how much your employer contributes per year, this could save you thousands in interest payments for just a few years and help put those loans away sooner than expected.
Work a Part-Time Gig.
Working a part-time gig is a great way to make extra cash while in school, and it can help you pay for college, build your resume and even help get your foot in the door for a full-time job after graduation.
Live at Home During College.
When you live at home, you save on rent and many other expenses. You’ll probably have to buy your food, but that’s a small price for not paying rent. You’ll also spend less on gas, insurance, utilities, and laundry services because you don’t have to commute as much.
If your parents are willing to give it up for free or cheap (or in exchange for help around the house), then living at home is an even better bargain!
The other significant benefit of living at home during college is that it allows you more freedom than dorm life. For example, Dorms often require students to follow strict rules about curfews and noise levels; if these rules bother you, then the privilege of being able to go wherever and whenever will be a huge plus.
It’s important not just because of how much money it saves but also because staying close with family members can help keep them healthy while they’re aging; having extended family nearby is always helpful when caring for loved ones who need extra attention or assistance with daily tasks (like bathing).
Live frugally, even on breaks from school.
In addition to living frugally while you’re in school, you can also adopt a frugal lifestyle during breaks from school.
- Live with your parents or, at the very least, live at home instead of in an apartment alone. This will save you a lot of money on rent and utilities (utilities for apartments are expensive!).
Save money on food by cooking your meals instead of buying takeout every night. If you have a car, drive it as little as possible—you’ll spend less money on gasoline and transportation overall if you don’t have one.
- Work part-time jobs during semester breaks: Use sites like Craigslist to find temporary employment opportunities that aren’t too far away from where your family lives (this way, they can still watch over you).
You might get lucky enough not only to make extra cash but also to meet new people who can become friends!
Crowd-sourcing is a way to raise money for a project by getting many people to contribute. It’s an excellent tool for growing small amounts of money from large groups of donors. For example, you could crowd-source your student loan debt by creating an online campaign asking friends and family members to donate toward your student loan payments.
This can be especially effective if specific milestones or goals are tied to the campaign, such as reaching $5K in donations by February 1st, 2019.
If you have trouble coming up with what kind of incentive would motivate people in your life to help out with paying off your loans, consider adding some reward at different levels—for example, signed copies of their favorite books or movies; framed pictures; meals out together; tickets toward future events they want to attend; etcetera).
Forgo College Until You’re Financially Ready.
Take a gap year. If you’re not ready to go to college yet, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to earn credits and get the education you need without going through four years of student loan debt.
One way is by taking time off from school before beginning your studies—for example, working for a year or volunteering abroad in another country.
Get a job. It may feel like the worst idea, but getting part-time work between high school and college will help you save money (and possibly even land yourself scholarships). Plus, it will give you real-life experience that can be useful when looking for jobs after graduation.
Save money in other ways: You can also save money by cutting back on unnecessary expenses such as eating out often or buying new clothes every month—instead, try saving up that extra cash so that when it’s time for your first semester at school, there won’t be any surprises lurking around every corner.
What is debt?
Debt is money you owe to someone else. It can be in the form of a loan (like a mortgage or car loan) or it can be credit card debt or personal loans. If you have debt, then there’s an obligation attached to that money—you have to pay it back.
Is it possible to avoid student loans?
Yes, it is possible to avoid student loans. However, this requires a lot of planning and forethought. Most students are encouraged to take out student loans because they do not have enough money to pay for their education.
How much is too much student debt?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask and what their opinion is. Some people might say that $100,000 of student debt is too much and others will say it’s not. The average cost of four-year public university education in the U.S. is $30,000, so if you can graduate with that amount of debt, then you’re probably doing okay.
How can I be debt free after college?
You can be debt-free after college by:
1. Paying your loans on time, every month.
2. Avoiding high-interest credit cards and other loans.
Is $80 000 in student loans a lot?
Yes, it is a lot of money to owe. And yes, it is a lot of money that you will have to pay back. That said, it’s not impossible to manage. As long as you make payments on time and stay on top of your bills, you should be able to get a handle on this debt without too much trouble.
Is 100k in student loans a lot?
100K in student loans is a lot. In fact, 100K is more than double the average amount of student loan debt in the U.S., which is about $33,000. If you’re paying back that much, it’s going to take you a long time to pay off your loans and you’ll probably have to put them off until later in life.
Why is it so hard to pay back student loans?
It’s so hard to pay back student loans because:
You have to pay back interest.
You might not get a job that pays as much as you need.
You’ll be paying for the rest of your life.
Can I use 401k to pay off student loans?
Yes, you can use your 401k to pay off student loans. The limit for 401k contributions for 2019 is $19,000—but if you’re over 50 years old and have been contributing to your account for at least 10 years, you can contribute an additional $6,000.
Student loan debt has become a significant problem for many young people. While you may not be able to avoid all student loans, there are steps you can take to minimize the amount of debt you take on.