Going to a university or college can be a great opportunity to obtain the education and qualifications you need to pursue the career of your dreams. However, many students find themselves under huge mountains of student debt after graduating, which will take years to pay back.
Taking out student loans to go to college is not always necessary, and with a little foresight, hard work, and ingenuity you can get through your degree without having debt cast a shadow over your life. Here are some tips for graduating debt free:
- Don’t go to school right away. If you spend a year or two working full time and saving first, you will have a nest egg to support you while you study rather than taking out a loan for it. You will also have more time to gain life experience, think about what you want to study and choose the best program for you.
- Use the summer time when you are not studying to make as much money as possible. Work a full time job and take on extra hours if you can. In the school year, work part time alongside your schooling.
- Apply for as many scholarships as possible. There are many to choose from and they can reward huge amounts of money to students. Not all scholarships are entirely based on academics, so even if your grades are not perfect you can still apply.
- If it is possible to live at home with your parents during your degree, this will save you a lot of money and really help you get through your education debt free. If not, try finding the cheapest apartment or on campus accommodation you can and sharing it with a roommate. It’s not the ideal living situation, but you can have your own apartment in a few years when you are working and can actually afford it!
- Anytime you get an unexpected windfall, such as birthday money, or prize winnings don’t think of the money as extra but use it to pay for your education instead.
- Buy only what you need, and buy it as cheaply as possible. When you are decorating your university dorm room, you don’t need brand new furniture when a used desk you found on Craigslist for $15 will work just as well. Buy only the essentials, and try to find them used rather than new so that you will spend less money.
- Many of your friends will be flashing their designer clothes and brand new laptops, and going out on the town every weekend. It can be difficult to resist wanting to fit in, but it’s important to remember that these students are either being funded completely by their parents, or spending student loans foolishly that they will need to pay back. You might feel like you are missing out as a student, but you will be much richer later as a result.
- Find free or cheap ways to entertain yourself, so that you don’t spend a lot of money on expensive recreational activities. Go for walks, make dinner and watch a movie at home with friends, or go out on 2 for 1 drinks night at your local bar. The fun part is hanging out with friends, not spending a lot.
These are just a few things that you can do which will help you graduate without a huge student debt.