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How can I save money in college?

College is expensive as it is so how can I lower my costs of everyday living so I don't not have an overwhelming amount of college debt? #teaching #counselor #help

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Taylor’s Answer

Hey Elizabeth!

Every little bit helps! I think the things you can focus on are:
1.) Rent
2.) Food
3.) Books/Supplies

You can double up on a room to reduce your costs significantly. It's the most significant way to help you reduce your costs. For food, learning to cook is one of the best ways to reduce your costs significantly. Eating out is a terrible cost and it adds up over time.

For books, make sure to grab them cheap through other students/pdfs. Paying full price is extremely expensive. Good luck!
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Chinesa’s Answer

There are lots of things, big and small, that you can do to save money. Walk or ride a bike rather than driving, it will boost your health and your wallet. Cook food at home rather than eating out, and buy food in bulk where possible. The biggest swap I made was thrift shopping. Even now as an adult, more than half of my wardrobe is clothing that was previously owned. And thrift stores have more than clothes - you can buy used books, kitchen tools, decorations, etc. The last thing I would advise is to look to your local library for educational sources. Your local library will not only have texts that you can use for school, but will also provide resources such as homework help, academic databases, and learning opportunities all for free!
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth ! Great question! I would definitely recommend a part-time job; work-study is very popular among students as well as finding other jobs on campus. Having a job on campus is very easy in terms of commuting, completing homework, getting to be more affiliated with others and making extra cash. Work-study is given through FAFSA, so I would first recommend to fill that out as well as see what aid you receive. With this you'll have a better idea of how much aid you have and how much you need to save up or plan to avoid college debt. A big factor of debt that definitely comes to mind is loans. However all loans are not bad; they can truly help students who don't receive as much financial aid as they wanted. It's important to look at loans by interest, it's usually the interest that builds up debt and not how much you take out. Of course both factors are important but looking at the lower interests loans and making a pros and cons list with each loan option is helpful. I would definitely first of all use federal loans for two reasons; one they have a low interest compared with other private ones and two they have a subsidized and unsubsidized loan option. A subsidized one (which is the one you want to use first) is the one that as long as you are in school interests will not accrue. Unsubsidized is interests that accrues the second the loan is disbursed. However, both have low interests and are safe options, especially for individuals taking out loans the first time. It's also very important to take out loans in the amount you need; it may be tempting to take out more for other things school-related but if let's say you have money saved up by working part time and you can buy books with it then you don't really need to take out the whole amount. Whatever you take out, you will be responsible for paying back- so definitely keep it in mind! One thing I would also see is credit card debt pamphlets and advertisements on my campus and I think it's an important point. Make sure when you save up money that you don't build up too much credit card debt, so spend what you need to. Sometimes savings can go to paying debt and this is something I have seen among others. If you want to go out for friends or shop with your credit card, make sure you know how much you spend and when the payment is due- maybe set a reminder and a limit as well. Another is textbooks, and it is really where things can get expensive! So, I would recommend to rent them, I bought them my first semester and could not sell them at all. Afterwards when I rented, it became so much easier because not only was I saving a good amount per semester but also I didn't have too many books left over and could ship them back. I would recommend Amazon rentals and Chegg- check them both out and see which one is better because some deals can change or some books might not be available on either site. Lastly, if you want to live close to campus consider options like having a couple of roommates in an apartment instead of dorming on campus. Of course if you live close- which I did- then commuting will definitely help. I did have friends though who shared an apartment nearby and they would cook and pay their rent and it ended up being less expensive than dorming. In the end, be responsible, know how much you have to spend and make good choices on how to spend your money, and you will end up saving!

Best of luck!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

Check out Chegg and/or Amazon Rentals for textbooks
Pros/Cons list for loans
Take out federal loans first-only the amount you need
Get a part-time job on campus
Spend smart
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