5 Tips to Finish College Debt Free
By Kevin Faber
Describe college in one word. What would you say? Homework? Parties? Alcohol? Sex? How about debt?
The average student in the 2016 graduating class finished with a whopping $37,172 in student loan debt. It is possible, however, to avoid amassing stifling amounts of debt in college. How? Here are five quick tips to graduate college debt free:
1) Live within your means
Though this one seems obvious, there are many who struggle to spend less money than they make. Do yourself a favor and simply don’t buy things you can’t afford. Having a credit card does not mean you have unlimited money. It means you have a possibility at unlimited debt if you’re not careful. Take time to stay in touch with your bank account and make a simple budget according to how much expendable funds you really have.
2) Find bargains
You don’t need the nicest, newest, everything all the time! You can still live a fruitful life without having the fanciest brand of macaroni and cheese or the very latest model of the newest cell phone. It’s okay if you need to use a textbook that has dinged up corners and a few scribbles.
Half.com is a great place to find cheap books. Remember that college is a time of investment. You’re making an intense investment of time and money so you can have more of both in the long run.
Don’t be afraid to live a frugal life while you are getting ready to live a more abundant one. College time is a time of preparation. When it comes right down to it, sometimes you’ll just need to gut it out financially. Keep in mind that if you are smart with your money in college, you will live much more happily later on. And your bank account will thank you when you graduate debt free.
3) Party Sparingly
Parties are not just fun, they’re necessary to blow off a little steam and stay sane during your grueling college experience. If you party every day, however, the parties can lose some of their novelty. And if you have a party, be sure you’re actually celebrating something. If you never accomplish anything, there’s not much point partying because it will only take away time that could be spent accomplishing and preparing for a good job to stay debt free.
Parties aren’t parties without some splurging involved. You splurge on food, alcohol, maybe even a venue. And despite your best arguments otherwise, you’re not exactly the most careful with your money when you are drunk.
4) Get a Job
Getting at least a part-time job in college is a great way to break up the monotony of school work and also make a little bit of money. Some universities offer jobs exclusively for students. Also, lots of college towns have small businesses that are happy to work with your school schedule.
5) Get Scholarships and Grants
Don’t have an academic scholarship? Chances are there is another scholarship or grant out there for you if you search hard enough. Talk to your academic counselor or just go online. There are numerous philanthropic individuals and organizations interested in giving students a quality education. Seek them out.
When it comes right down to it, the key to staying out of debt in college is being smart with your money and working your tail off. Unless your dad is a multi-millionaire, there really aren’t many shortcuts, but graduating without debt is not an impossible feat. Work hard, work smart, and a debt-free college experience is within your reach.