The best way to avoid graduating college with a mountain of debt is to start planning for it while you’re still in school. These are just a few tips to help you get your degree and graduate completely debt-free.
1. Make a budget and stick to it.
Creating and following a sensible budget is one of the best ways to ensure you won’t graduate with debt. Track your spending and make sure your expenses are less than your income. If you can’t live within your budget, you’ll need to cut back on your spending or find a way to make more money.
There are many ways your budget could get away from you. This includes eating out, gym memberships, coffee runs, nights out with friends, and impulse spending. Check your monthly budget for any monthly costs that you can reduce or live without. Small subscriptions that you pay every month can also add up, especially if you have multiple services on your bill like this.
2. Live at home while you’re in school.
If possible, live at home while you’re in school. This will help you save money on rent, utilities, and food. It may also be helpful to get a part-time job to help pay for your expenses so that you can maximize your savings. The money you make can go right to your piggy bank as you begin to save money for your future.
Living at home is not what it used to be. Parents are grateful to have you around, and you can save on lease fees, food, laundry, pet care, and more. You also have a great support system that will help keep you focused on your college goals.
3. Apply for scholarships and grants.
Many scholarships and grants are available to students who need help paying for college. Apply for as many as you can to reduce the debt you’ll have when you graduate.
Fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and research local and national scholarships you may qualify for. Some are as easy as just filling out your information, while others may require a carefully crafted essay.
4. Take out loans only if necessary.
Do everything you can to pay for your tuition in advance. Taking out loans will only add interest over time and increase the overall price of what your tuition.
If you do need to take out loans, try to take out the smallest amount possible. Loans can be a big burden to carry after graduation, so try to avoid them if you can.
5. Make a plan for repayment.
Once you graduate, it’s important to create a plan for repaying your student loans. Figure out how much money you can afford to pay each month and make sure you stick to it.
Falling behind on your loan payments can lead to serious financial problems down the road. Be prepared if you have loans to make that payment each month.
6. Find a degree with a big payday.
Go for a career that you love, but also one that will keep you financially comfortable. You don’t want to go through all of the effort to save money while you’re in college only to not be able to afford your ideal life in the future.
Getting a degree with a financially secure career right after college will benefit you in the long run. If you’re able to find relevant work right out of school, you’ll be able to start making money and growing your resume.
Graduating from college without any debt is possible if you plan ahead and take action. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to a debt-free future.
If that doesn’t seem possible consider our article Is It Bad To Take Out Student Loans?