You’ve decided to take the plunge and go to college. Congratulations! A college education is a great investment in your future. But, like any investment, it comes with a price tag. And, if you’re not careful, that price tag can quickly turn into a debt burden that will take years to pay off.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid that fate and become debt free before you even start your college education:
Start with a savings plan.
The earlier you start saving for college, the better. If you can swing it, open a 529 college savings plan and start contributing to it as soon as your child is born. Even if you can only afford to save a few dollars a week, it will add up over time.
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Apply for scholarships.
There are billions of dollars in scholarship money available each year, but too many students never even bother to apply. Don’t let that be you! Start your search for scholarships early and don’t give up until you’ve exhausted all your options.
Get a part-time job.
Working while you’re in college is a great way to offset the cost of your education and avoid taking on too much debt. If you can find a job related to your field of study, even better! Not only will you earn some extra money, but you’ll also get some valuable experience under your belt.
There’s no need to live like a pauper while you’re in college, but there’s also no need to live like a king. If you can find a way to keep your living expenses low, you’ll be in good shape. That might mean living at home with your parents, sharing an apartment with roommates, or eating ramen noodles for every meal. Whatever it takes!
Take advantage of student discounts.
There are all sorts of businesses and organizations that offer student discounts. Take advantage of them! From movie theaters to museums to restaurants, you can save a lot of money just by flashed your student ID.
Avoid credit card debt.
This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating. Credit card debt is the worst kind of debt to have, so do your best to avoid it at all costs. If you must use a credit card, be sure to pay off your balance in full each month.
Make a budget.
Last but not least, one of the best ways to become debt free before starting your college education is to make a budget and stick to it. Determine how much money you have coming in each month and how much you need to spend on essentials like tuition, books, and housing. Then, be mindful of your spending and make sure you don’t overspend in any one area.
By following these tips, you can become debt free before you even start your college education. And that’s a great way to set yourself up for success!