Earning a degree is one of the most exciting accomplishments of a person’s professional life. It opens doors, creating opportunities that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. However, there are many people struggling to make ends meet in this unique economic time, and adding an expensive college degree on top of it can seem impossible for some. Here are some important tips that will bring this goal back into focus, turning your dreams into reality.
1. Get A Part-Time Job
A part-time job will help you make your goals a bit more manageable. Some have argued that a holding down a part-time job while being a student may make academic goals harder to reach, but it could do just the opposite. It will not only make sure you’re making extra money, but it will also help you learn to better organize your time and make every moment count. If you choose to earn your degree online, you can actually work a full time job and complete your courses in your free time. While this option might not be for everyone, having the ability to work during the day and catch up on your coursework in the evening and on weekends provides the ultimate in flexibility, and is a surefire way to avoid debt. You can even earn a master’s or doctorate degree online, so if you already have a job in your desired industry, but wish to attain higher goals, you can slowly work towards your next degree whenever it is convenient for you
2. Avoid New Debts
One of the most common mistakes any college student makes is creating more debt. There are several shady business models that prey on unsuspecting college students. Credit card companies are some of the worst culprits, targeting naïve students who are working towards financial freedom. There are many college credit card horror stories out there, most of which explain how a student ended up in debt because of a credit card.
3. Have A Checking Account
A checking account will help keep you accountable (no pun intended) for your spending habits. It will be easy to find a good rate for the account since most major banks offer free or no-minimum-balance checking accounts to college students. This will offer you a no-fee banking experience, and most banks include a helpful way to manage your account online. You will not only be able to track every purchase, but you’ll also be able to see which of your spending habits could be curbed and how your money could be used better.
4. Choose An Income-Earning Major
Not all majors are created equally. If you’re worried about your debt after school, get serious about a career that will earn you a steady income. Consider something like a medical, finance, or social work degree. These will help you get a job faster after graduating so you can immediately start paying off any debts.
5. Watch Your Eating
One of the biggest money battles for college students is their food intake. Since most campuses are set up with meal plans that students have to pay for in advance, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of money you will spend eating on campus. Instead of falling into the trap of a pre-paid eating plan, see if there is a flex plan available that will charge you only by what you eat.
Battling debt while in school will offer unique challenges, but it is not as difficult as you may think. With these tips in mind, you will be able to avoid some of the most common pitfalls students face and just focus on your studies. If you work hard, plan ahead, and spend wisely, you will set yourself up for financial freedom early on in life.
Hi, my name is Jon and I run Compounding Pennies. I’ve been interested in personal finance since high school and love writing and talking about it. You can learn more about me in the Authors section of this site.