When it comes to all the expenses that a student requires to incur, a major factor that you need to keep in mind is there are 2 different aspects added in this process.
First one is paying for the expenses and the second one is trying to reduce the expenses so that ultimately, you’ll have to pay less.
We will focus on both of these factors and also you need to notice that the sources of paying up for living expenses are less hence, you need to focus more on the saving part.
When I was planning for my kids’ education, I made sure to set up some funds in a savings account and also let my kid focus on scholarships.
But if you as a parent have not planned in advance then you need not to panic as still there are various other places where you can find Financial help.
Also, the kids who are living independently and don’t expect to get any support from their parents can take huge help from this read.
Let’s do a Little Math:
On an average, an American family spends $20,000 which are solely contributed towards tuition and college expenses.
And another $20,000 is required for your kids living expenses and both of these costs cover only a year’s time.
The cost of living expenses along with the tuition might increase in case of out-of-state private school and if your kid wishes to stay at a solo accommodation then it might get even higher.
So, by the time you graduate $160,000 is required out of your pocket which adds up to be a huge amount.
This amount of $160,000 keeps in consideration all the other expenses along with basic expenses, such as transportation, food, and other such basic necessities.
Also, you need to pay focus on a simple fact that you need to pay this amount back to your loan providers once you graduate. (Well you don’t have to pay back the FAFSA amount)
Now that you have done a little math and know an average amount required for your education let’s move ahead towards the main question.
How to Pay for Living Expenses while in College?
This question comes with a limited scope of answers as having sources of paying your expenses are a bit lesser when you haven’t started earning on your own.
So, there are various points when you’re planning to find the sources to pay up your expenses and we’ve listed out all the possible ones ahead.
1. Seek help through FAFSA
Submitting the form for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens up various opportunities to get financial help.
Once you submit FAFSA form, you will get to know about how much Financial help you can get from Government which you won’t have to pay back.
So, once you start filling out a form for various schools for FAFSA (Which will typically take 30 mins) each school that you apply to will uses FAFSA to determine your financial aid.
Then you will only have to pay the gap amount i.e. the aid that you receive from FAFSA and the cost of attendance of the school that you’re looking forward to joining.
The only thing that you need to take care of is applying early for this process because many schools have first-come-first-serve programs.
And if you’re a dependent then you will need your parents to help as the form requires information about your parent’s income, taxes and assets.
Your parents won’t be legally required to pay for your college and submitting FAFSA along with their information won’t harm your parents in any way.
But filling out your parent’s information will increase your chances of receiving assistance.
Getting funding from FAFSA will help you in covering up the tuition cost to some extent and will help in reducing your expenses.
2. Student Loan
It is definitely not advised by financial experts for you to use Student Loan money to pay for your living expenses while in college.
But you can definitely opt for a Federal or private student loan to pay for your college tuition fees.
Mostly, people prefer Federal Student Loan because the rate of interest in Private student loans is a bit higher.
So, you can plan how much money you will be requiring every semester and according to the same, you can plan for taking a Federal loan first.
Try to avoid taking private loans as after you graduate, you don’t want to end up with huge debts which will take away a major part of your paycheck.
Assure that you plan and understand that Every Buck Counts, so try to keep your finances stable for future.
3. Look for Scholarships and Grants
There are various scholarships available for you to help reduce your college expenses.
Some of these Scholarships are merit-based so, you need to keep good grades or fulfill the service requirements to qualify.
Then some scholarships are based on your other situations, your location or the school that you’re attending.
This was all about scholarships but when it comes to grants then the grants are often needs-based.
If you seek any further help in the domain of grants then you can see College Grants Database which will help you further in understanding and applying for grants.
Along with this, you need to keep in mind that you should apply for scholarships each year because scholarships depend on what year you’re in.
How to Save While in College?
After understanding about how you can pay for living expenses while in college the next step is to plan to spend less on living expenses so that your loan or debt amount doesn’t increase.
There are various ways in which you can plan on keeping your living expenses in college at a lower end, so read and follow the below mentioned points.
1. Go to in-state College
Kids often opt for out-of-state college which ends up bringing a huge expense amount towards them but you can clearly avoid the same.
At times there are good enough colleges in your own state which you tend to avoid as you live by the dream of joining a college away from home.
So, restrain yourselves from doing the same and look for joining such colleges which are near your home.
2. Do part time Jobs
It doesn’t matter where you are and what you are doing but you can always plan and take out some spare time to work and earn.
If you’re able to land up with a part-time job which offers you an hourly wage of $15 and you work 30 hours a week then you will end up with $450 per month.
And $450 is actually a good amount of earning as it can increase if you count in the tips and increase the working hours.
This way you will be able to pay for your living expenses while in college and it will help in reducing the future debt.
You can become a pet sitter with Rover and you can choose from 12 High Paying Part Time Jobs For College Student.
There’s nothing better than doing a job that you love and getting paid for the same.
3. Save Money on Shopping and Scrolling Mobile Apps
You will definitely shop and order food online and while doing the same you can save money through Browser extensions or by getting various coupons.
So, give a good look at this read and make sure that you don’t just save but you also make money.
Along with this if you don’t want to buy things at all and are looking for FREE of cost samples and freebies then this article should be bookmarked.
4. Rent Textbooks
There are 2 ways to save when it comes to textbooks, one of which can be by renting the books and the other one by buying second-hand books.
Either way, you need to focus on the fact that books change every semester according to the course, so there’s no point in buying the books.
And also, you can make the most of your college library and borrow books from there.
I’ve seen various kids getting a book issued at the start of the semester and they keep on reissuing it till the end of the semester, which is a smart move to save money.
5. Stay at Home
Staying at home has a lot many benefits for you as:
- You can avoid the cost of the rent.
- You can get free of cost meals.
- You can get paid from time to time by babysitting for your younger siblings.
And the best perk is that you will stay close with your family, making memories.
(And if you keep your parents happy by helping them with daily chores then you might get FRESH FOLDED laundry when you come back home from college)
6. Use Student Discounts
Be it a café, book store or a trip to an amusement park, there are various places which offer Student discounts and not using the same when you Actually are a student is definitely a dumb move.
So, wherever you go and whatever you want to pay for, make sure that you ask if they offer any student discounts (as there’s no harm in asking) and save money while in college.
7. Say NO to Car
Even for adults who encash a good paycheck, keeping and maintaining a car is a huge liability. So, being a student you HAVE to AVOID getting a car for yourselves.
Expenses for buying a car, filling it up with gas, it’s maintenance and insurance is way too much that a student can afford, whereas public transport can be a good way to save money on transportation.
How to pay for living expenses while in college is a tough question to answer but still, if you keep your focus on frugal living then you can save a lot of money on unwanted expenditures.
So, assure that apart from implementing these above-mentioned points, you implement your own ways to make and save money while in college so that you reduce your future debt.
Every Buck Counts when it comes to getting a good education and also when you have to make the repayments after graduation, so Save and Make the most of it.