The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he tackles what to do after college and anything else that could be on your mind when it comes to money.
September is here. As much as I hate to type this, it’s certainly true. The back to school commercials are up. It’s getting cooler outside. You have to wear a sweater at night. You now have to wake up before noon.
School is here.
Before you get depressed, let’s cheer up! Next summer is only a few months away or so…
I wanted to share with you what your college won’t share about going back to school so that you survive financially. I don’t want you to end up in thousands of dollars in debt. I don’t want you to be paying off student loans into your 40s. I want you to be debt-free early on. If I can do it, anyone can.
What Won’t Your College Tell You About Your Finances?
You Can And Should Work.
Yes, you should be working. If you work even a little bit, this will help you out with your debt in the future. Every dollar today counts. You won’t get rich, but you’ll dent your debt while in school.
You also can’t fool me here. I always had an active social life and I still held a job. I know that you think you’re busy, but trust me, we all waste time. Working forced me to manage my time better and not to mess around. Those hour-long bus rides were my saving grace before finals.
But Martin! I can’t work, I swear.
If you’re program is too intense to even work a few hours per week, then you can work during your time off or apply for a work term. Either way, you should work during college. It will get you into the habit of being a real person when you graduate and it will help you cover some of your bills.
It’s also not too late to apply for a work term. You can try to get in for the next term or some time in the future. Please try to apply at least. You might have to give up your summer, but you’ll have money to help with bills!
There’s Free Money Available To You.
Money should never hold you back from a quality education. Every college offers all kinds of financial assistance. You can apply for any or all of the following:
You have nothing to lose from applying. I suggest that you take the next rainy afternoon to apply for all of these forms of financial aid. The worst case scenario is that they say no.
I dated a girl who would get insane amounts of financial assistance every year. She simply applied for everything because she was poor.
Think about it this way: if you get paid $12 an hour, how long would it take you to earn $2,000? Now imagine writing an essay in an hour that leads to $2,000. Not so bad, right?
Where do you find out more about financial help?
Every college has an office for this and a portion of the website dedicated to finances. It’s usually pretty easy to figure out. You can look for specific bursaries, scholarships, grants, or awards. They offer ones for each program and even for every specific niches.
All you have to do is print out the forms and submit them before the deadline.
There Are Plenty Of Free Resources (And Awesome Stuff).
There’s so much free stuff out there. You just have to look around.
For example, you can easily workout without a gym membership when you can’t afford it. However, as a student you might have a free gym membership as part of your package.
A Few Other Free Or Cheap Things To Look Out For:
- Concerts on campus.
- Student discounts.
- Health benefits.
- Resources (resume writing help, job search, etc.).
Don’t spend money that you don’t have on things that can be free to you or close to it.
This Is The Best Time To Live On The Cheap.
Let’s be honest here. One of the most charming aspects of college is the extreme frugality that we go through. This is the one time in your life where frugality is embraced. Being a poor college student will force you to make the most with the least.
For example, my brother can eat off nothing. Seriously, he’ll spend a $100 over a month sometimes on food. I have another friend who has had the same pair of shoes for years. He wears these shoes everywhere (formal events as well). I personally believe that he might be better off going bare foot at this point.
How cheap will you be as a student?
Watch Who You Hang Out With.
I know, that you’re a grown up. This doesn’t meant that you won’t make plenty of mistakes. All I’ll say is that you have to watch who you hang out with. If you get involved with the crowd, you can easily start spending money and racking up the debt on things that you don’t need. Your friends in college are very important.
I wish you all the best in college. I hope your grades are through the roof and that you manage to survive financially. Even if you apply one of these tips, you’ll thank me one day.
Don’t forget to check out Studenomics!