According to the Pew Research center, the average cost of tuition and fees for private colleges reached $27,293 in 2011. At the same time the average student loan debt increased to a record $25,250 in 2010. You can buck that upward trend by trying to save money while you’re still in college.
I’m not going to recommend the usual suspects of applying for scholarships, getting a part-time job or even selling back your books since you already know that. Let’s try thinking differently, shall we?
Don’t Live On Campus
Student housing is both tiny and expensive. If your parents live close enough to your school, try living at home since you did it so well for the first 18 years of your life. If not, rent an apartment (your parents might need to sign the lease for you) and get roommates.
Drop The Dining Plan
If you’re not eating in the school’s dining hall, considering dropping the cafeteria plan that might have been added to your bill. If you’re like me, and skip half of your meals, then you’re paying for a service that you are not using! This also holds true if you have food allergies that might make it difficult to eat foods that you have not prepared yourself. If you don’t have a dining plan, consider taking the food stamp challenge.
Seek Government Assistance
If you are not someone’s dependent, try applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps. This program was created for individuals who need assistance in feeding themselves. If you’re taking out student loans for food, I would say that you might as well consider applying.
Internships Are Your Friend
If you can do work study, paid internship or unpaid college credit internship, do it! Either way, you’ll reduce your expenses by either getting paid to learn, or getting credited for a class that you didn’t have to pay for.
Sell Your Talents
If you don’t have time for a job, the internet is full of opportunities for enterprising people. Try putting up a gig on Fiverr or applying for a virtual gig via oDesk , eLance or Freelancer. You can take only the jobs that you’re interested in and you can work in your spare time.
Just Say No – To Credit Cards
Finally, if you can avoid getting a credit card, do so! Not only did most students graduate with college debt, they also graduated with credit card debt. The last thing that you want to do is pay for a pizza four years after you ate it.