Whether you are fresh out of high school or a mature student looking to upskill or switch careers, going to college can be an unforgettable experience. There are new friends, new horizons, and new expenses. Getting qualified is a valuable investment, but with the rising cost of education and daily expenses, how do you survive your first year at college?
Look into Financing
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a trust fund, or years of savings to fall back on when they start college. That is why you should be checking out what finance options are available to you. Some banks will offer loans, but you should also consider a student loan from a private lender, as these can be competitive.
You can use a student loan calculator to work out how much you can borrow, and what your repayment plan will look like so you can see what will fit in your budget. Best of all, repayments do not usually start under after graduation, so you can embrace college life to the full without worrying about money. You could always work during the semester and in the holidays, but the reason for you to go to college is to earn the best qualification you can. A student loan might be the perfect solution to remove that need to study and work at the same time. It’s worth investing in yourself.
Set a Budget
Financial management is one of the most important life skills to master. The earlier you learn to manage your finances, the more secure you will be in the present and in the future. The challenges around financial management might be different for a high school graduate compared to a seasoned college student, but the solution for both is the same.
A high school grad may never have had to manage their own finances before and getting a big chunk of money at the beginning of the semester might prove too much of a temptation. A seasoned student might be very used to a regular income and attached to luxuries such as dinners out or takeout coffee. Regardless of your situation, you need to budget well, so that you can concentrate on your studies without financial anxiety.
Embrace a Frugal Lifestyle
Money can be one of the biggest worries for college students, so as well as setting a budget you need to think about how to get the biggest return on investment for the money you do spend. Certain costs such as tuition fees are non-negotiable, but other expenses such as food can be high or as low depending on your choices. If you can cook at home, it’s far cheaper than eating out. Taking a packed lunch and a water bottle to college, rather than eating on campus can save you hundreds of dollars in your first year.
Check out the student discounts you will be entitled to. Movie theaters, public transport, and retailers often offer a discounted prices for students. The things you should not compromise on are wellbeing and happiness, so make sure your finances are healthy enough to see you through your first year, even if that means taking out a loan.