Frugal Education: Staving Off Student Loan Debt

Frugal Education Staving Off Student Loan Debt from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Student loan debt is soaring. Right now, Americans hold $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, and the last thing parents should want is their kids to end up with $37,000+ in loan debt when they graduate. You can’t claim bankruptcy to get out of a loan, and getting a mortgage with such high debt is difficult.

But when you’re frugal, you can help your child learn how to keep their debt to a minimum if they still want to attend college.

Yes, you should be applying for scholarships and getting any free help that you can. You also need to take a practical approach and keep debt to a minimum.

Don’t Choose the Most Expensive School

A major issue that a lot of students have is that they pick schools their friends go to, or they choose the most expensive school. You need to worry about education, and just because a school is inexpensive doesn’t mean that the education will reflect the cost.

You research mortgage prices, lenders, and credit cards, and now it’s time to also research the cost of schools.

I recommend:

  • Considering a community college for the first two years
  • Choosing a state school that’s well-funded and has a great reputation

In-state schools often have significant discounts for residents and offer top-tier education plans.

Summer Classes at a Community College

I took summer classes at a community college to lessen the time I needed to stay in college. I reduced my costs dramatically by graduating in under four years and getting my bachelor’s degree.

Even reducing your time in school by a semester is a significant saving.

But you will want to ensure all of your credits will transfer. Talk with one of your advisors before signing up for a summer program to ensure your money and time are well-spent.

Wait Before Buying Textbooks

I used to spend nearly $500 – $600 on textbooks in a single semester. But then I started realizing that some of the books, even when they’re on the syllabus, weren’t required. It’s always good to do one of a few things with textbooks:

  • Look for deals only
  • Always buy used books
  • Check the library for books

Always resell your books afterward, too. The chances of you referring to the books in the future are very slim.

Use a Meal Plan If You Buy It

There always seems to be free food in college, and I recommend taking as much free food as possible. Meal plans may be purchased, and if they are, make sure that you utilize them to the best of your ability.

Meal plans allow you to swipe your card and eat.

You paid for it, so don’t sneak off to a diner or fast food restaurant.

Maintain Good Grades

Seriously. I know a lot of people who had to take the fifth year of college because they thought their time would be better spent drinking and partying rather than studying. You need to know that bad grades and potentially failing a class will always be costlier in the end.

Go to class. Study. Get good grades. Get out.

I’m not saying don’t enjoy your experience. Everyone needs to enjoy their college experience, but make sure you also put in the hard work and effort to get good grades. You may also land a grant or scholarship if you maintain good grades.

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