There are so many things about money I wish I would have known when I was in college. At 20 years old, I was newly married and starting my third year at community college. While my college experience wasn’t “traditional” in the sense, we did have to be resourceful with the money we had and learn how to save money.
1. Avoid debt if possible
Student loan debt is no joke and it feels like it is going to take forever to pay off. When I graduated college, I accepted a teaching job right away and went on an income repayment plan to start repaying my student loans. I started off paying about $275 a month on my loans, which ended up going mostly towards interest. My total balance on my loans wasn’t going to go down unless I started paying more on them each month, which was tricky on a new teacher salary. To avoid taking out student loans, start looking for scholarships and grants when you are still in high school if possible.
2. Apply for scholarships
Scholarships are basically free money to use towards your degree. You can apply for scholarships through websites like Scholarships.com. Also check you colleges website to see if they have a list. Sometimes scholarships from local donors are listed or scholarships for certain programs are available.
3. If loans are unavoidable, only take the minimum amount needed
Searching for a job can be stressful and time-consuming. When I graduated college in winter of 2014, my plan was to substitute teach for the remainder of the school year in a few schools I was interested in teaching in. I happened to find a paraprofessional job at the end of February and worked as a parapro in a first grade classroom for the rest of the school year. In the summer I taught summer school at the same school district. I would love to say that helped me find a teaching job right away, but it didn’t. What it did do was give me experiences in different grade levels that helped me figure out what grade I wanted to teach, and were experiences that looked good on a resume. When I graduated, there were hundreds of applicants for each teaching job that was posted in my area. Thankfully things have relaxed since then, but it took me a few years to get into a school district I could see myself in for the long-haul. These are the tips I have learned through my experience looking for a teaching job over the years.
1. Look for jobs daily
Take a few minutes each day to check on the new job listings. In my experience, when a school knows that a teacher is leaving or retiring, they start posting the jobs as early as spring. Apply to the job early. Just because a posting is set to close at a certain date doesn’t mean that principals aren’t looking at applications and setting up interviews prior to then.
2. Go to job fairs
This is a great way to meet many people at once and there is a good chance that there will be principals and others that make hiring decisions there. Be sure to bring multiple copies of your resume that you can pass out to individuals you meet.
Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Today I wanted to share a few tips to save money while going to college. College can be a huge expense, but with some planning, there are ways to save some money. I graduated a few years ago, but if I could go back and change a few things when I was in college, I would. Student loans are a burden I cannot wait to get rid of.
1. Start at a Community College. Getting prerequisites done at a community college can save thousands of dollars. Instead of spending $400 on a credit, a community college in my area is closer to $100.
2. Live at home for as long as possible. When I graduated high school I wanted to move into an apartment, but I decided to live at home instead to save money. It was hard when a lot of my friends were getting places of their own, but it was worth it to be able to pay my way through community college without going into debt. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but definitely consider it if it is.
3. If you need to move out, find reliable roommates to move in with. You will save money by splitting rent, utilities and internet.
4. Shop online for textbooks. Books are so expensive in the campus bookstore, even the used ones. A lot of times you can find used ones online for significantly cheaper. Before purchasing from the campus bookstore, check amazon.com and eBay.com.
5. Sell textbooks online. Check online before selling your book back to the campus bookstore. Bookscouter.com is a great website that checks the sell back prices on multiple websites to get you the most out of your books.
6. Rent Textbooks– Before purchasing a book, check to see if it will be less expensive to rent your textbook. Take into account the price of purchasing the book and reselling with just renting.
7. Meal plan– It is so easy to go out to eat when you are busy with classes and homework, but eating out is expensive. Either purchase a meal plan through the campus, or if you live off of campus meal plan before grocery shopping to keep grocery bills down.
8. Watch store ads for sales and use Ibotta and Checkout 51 on purchases you would normally make. These apps are easier and quicker to use than clipping coupons and cash back balances can add up quickly.
9. Pack food and drinks with you when you’re on campus.
10. If possible, carpool or take the bus to school. At my school, a parking pass was hundreds of dollars a year and it did not guarantee a parking spot. During the mid-afternoon it was almost impossible to find a spot close to where my classes were.
11. If you live on campus, walk or ride a bike. Not only are you saving on a parking pass, but you also save gas and insurance payments.
12. Search for and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Start looking in high school.
13. Speak with a counselor to know exactly what classes you need to take. They can map out your classes so you know your estimated graduation time. Also, taking unnecessary classes not only wastes money but it also wastes time.
14. If you must take out a student loan, only take out the amount you need. Every semester I was given more money in student loan that I needed to pay for classes and books. Instead of using that money on other things, apply it right back to the loan. I knew people who were spending their student loan money on cars and vacations-bad idea!
15. Use your student discount. Some stores and venues will give you a discount with a student ID, you just have to ask.
16. Take advantage of campus amenities like the gym or fitness classes or events like movie nights. These are often included in the price of tuition or at a low cost.
17. Work a part time job to pay for living expenses.
18. Avoid credit cards. Credit cards can be a slippery slope. It is so easy and mindless to just swipe a purchase and the interest is expensive. Instead, use cash or a debit card linked to your bank account.
I hope you find these tips helpful. What ways do you save money?