I'm a non-traditional student who worked professionally for a few years before I could start undergraduate study properly. This helped me save for future education. For my undergraduate study, I also used the Federal Student Aid. Completing FAFSA every year is very important for this reason, by the way. As a graduate student, I have received a federal scholarship which helps with almost all financial responsibilities while I'm focusing on my study.
If you're wondering how to prepare and pay for education, a good first place to start might be the financial aid office of any school/college that you're interested in attending. Almost always, you could get information on budgeting tips as well as loan and scholarship applications. I hope this helps.