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Tips For Saving Money For College

Savvy Community: Tips For Saving For College?

This question was asked by reader kellylouise in our How Do You Save? group.

For the past half year or so, I have been desperately trying to save everything I could spare and I have been taking on every shift possible for over the Summer, which my mother somehow condemns, but I hear so much about students having massive loans and I just don't want to do that. Nor do I want to rely on my parents, who are both unemployed at the moment and although they get by and could spare a little to support me, I want my (financial) independence, which I know is quite impossible at my age without a decent, well-paid job, but I still want to try. Although I have been saving up most of my money, and my parents have been saving some amount for me as well, I still feel it is far from enough. Does anyone have tips on getting more money on there to financially secure me, at least throughout the first year of college?

Share your advice here and share your own questions and tips in the How Do You Save? group.

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nyxmoxie nyxmoxie 7 years
Don't go into debt if you can avoid it. Yes living on campus might be cooler than going to community college, but when those loans pile up, then you wish you would have chosen a more affordable option. I chose to move to the midwest for college so I could have financial independence and go to college at the same time, its tough at time but worth it. I've heard the horror stories about being drowned in debt, I didn't want a repeat of that, so I didn't take out any loans. Choose a major that will pay off, such as accounting, finance, nursing, programming, etc. Don't choose art history or the humanities, not at first. Some might disagree but you're more likely to get a job if you choose something practical. Later on once you save up enough money, you can leave your job and try finding something more fulfilling like a job in an artsy field or a humanities field. Please please do not go into debt, if you must take out a loan, read the fine print, borrow what you need and just that. Do your best to avoid it. If you can afford to move somewhere affordable like the midwest or another affordable city or state, do so. Most employers don't care where your degree is from. If you're not going into law or wall street then most likely your employers will not care where your degree is from. I live in Omaha, Ne-once people graduate from here, they leave the state and go to better states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington, etc. A lot of young people tend to leave because Nebraska isn't very exciting, but its affordable while you're young and in college. I moved from the southwest to move here. So here's what I do. I rent with my bf, our rent is $500. We each pay half of rent, half of electricity, water is included into our rent so we don't worry about paying water. I don't have cable, no tivo. Instead we use itunes, netflix, and download our movies. We hook up the computer to the tv, and once the movie is ready to be watched, we put it up on the tv. No landline phone, we have skype and a pay as you go phone. We try to eat in most of the time, on the weekends we will eat out Friday-Sunday. We try to usually get takeout when we eat out that way you don't have to pay for a tip. Getting take out has helped us out a lot and cut down on eating expenses. You really just have to know your habits and find ways to save. Don't buy stuff that you won't end up using. Some toys in life seem nice but you never end up using them. I bought a digital recorder but I never ended up using it. I also bought a printer for college, guess what I ended up going to my college's computer lab and did it there. I rarely use my printer. So I regret purchasing those items, I wish that I had thought more about how they would be used in my every day life. Also find out about CLEP. They're basically college level tests and if you pass them you get college credit, my state college participates in this, its by the college board. Sometimes they're transferable to another college. I really recommend that you read finance books like "your money or your life" "total money makeover" and "your money the missing manual" Learn from those that went to college took on loans and are stuck paying loans for decades. Learn from those who came before you. If you must get a loan, get a small loan, only borrow what you need so you can reasonable pay it back.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
*word of warning, don't risk your college experience to save a few bucks though I disagree with people who say don't live in dorms and to switch from college to state schools to save money in early years go to the college you want to go to, and do all the crazy college things sure I can tell you not to drink to save money, or to not go out with your friends for dinner if they want to go, but I know the best parts about school are meeting new people and going out for pizza at 3am...and if you miss out on that, that's not fun at all...if you need to go into debt to live the real experience, do that!
skigurl skigurl 7 years
possibly also sell stuff...if you have anything you don't use anymore you could sell online, try that to earn a little more cash
skigurl skigurl 7 years
Instead of loans, I got a student line of credit which worked out really well. I saved as much as possible from my job and then when that money ran out, I used my line of credit. Ideas: -buy books used (in person or online) to save money when you get to school -apply for lots of scholarships and let your teachers know you are in saving mode/play up the parents unemployed thing...i had a friend who did this and played up the single mother thing, and as a result, got tons of "awards" at highschool graduation with money attached because teachers thought she needed the money more than others -try to get a job that has regular hours 9-5(like in an office - it will provide you a more regular paycheque during the summer and usually pays more - then you can also get or keep your parttime job on the side if you need to or want to to earn even more) -don't buy food (like lunches/dinners) this summer as much as possible, as food eats up cash money like crazy -put your money in a high interest savings account for the summer so it earns even a little interest i'll try to keep thinking!
idanceinmycar idanceinmycar 7 years
I learned the hard way after college that having as much $ to pay off college from the get-go is the best way and will ensure more financial freedom. One thing I wish I had done more of before college is researching the literally thousands of scholarships that exist for almost anything. Even if it's $1000, it's that much, plus interest, that you won't have to pay later.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Yeah, I know you flat-out said you really don't want to get any student loans, but they may be inevitable. You may be able to get some great grants, etc., as well, particularly if you start to live on your own and your parents don't claim you as a dependent on their taxes.
lauren lauren 7 years
So great job saving, keep it up! For college, you might also see if you can get a student loan to cover some of the costs. Most of these loans have really low interest rates and often you don't have to start paying for them until you have graduated. Also, think about maybe doing a junior college for the undergrad stuff since they are often a lot cheaper!
jaxsprat jaxsprat 7 years
I don't think I'm the best person for advice on saving, I'm a terrible saver. But I commend you for your efforts, well done!!
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