5 Simple Ways To Survive College Financially

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Surviving college can be challenging but it is still one of the best methods to be financially independent in the future.

Surviving college can be challenging but it is still one of the best methods to be financially independent in the future. College graduates can earn a 50% higher salary than those employees with only a high school diploma according to Forbes.

However, figuring out how to pay college fees can be nerve-wracking. Thus, if you want to pay your own education but you are not yet sure how to do it, you are in the right place. Here are some of the strategies that you can try to pay for college:

1. Save Money in Advance via the 529 Plan

Save enough money to pay your fees via the 529 plan. The 529 plan can gain tax benefits unlike the taxable investment or regular savings account.

If you save for a longer period of time, you can definitely survive college.

However, since 529 relies heavily on the stock market, it is also important to have a backup plan. You can open backup savings in case of any problems in the end.


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2. Understand Investing Basics

Once you graduated from college you will likely get your first post-grad job and start getting regular paychecks. Cha-ching! While it’s okay to splurge a bit, you’ll want to start building up your retirement nest egg.

This means investing in your 401(k) and even open a ROTH IRA so that over time these accounts grow due to compound interest.

For example, if you invested $1,000 at age 22, that will become $20,000 when you are 72 given a 6% rate of return.

If you know you want to invest but want a professional app to do it for you then consider micro-investing apps. My personal favorite one currently is Acorns.

Acorns is a smartphone app that “rounds up” your spending to the nearest dollar and invests that difference. You link a credit card and checking account, then Acorns does the rest. This microsavings service makes investing almost painless because you are literally investing pennies at a time.

It’s a simple process. And there’s no need to ask where to get quarters to add to your investing account, as the app rounds up your purchases automatically and invests the funds for you.

3. Apply for Full or Partial Scholarships

With scholarships, you can definitely make your way through college without having to think about the money that you need to pay back. However, you need to qualify for the scholarships. But there are websites that can help college students find scholarships that meet their qualifications.

For example, there are scholarships for people of color, men, women, and LGBTQ students. You can check with different organizations, banks, and companies.

Remember to apply for scholarships at your preferred school. Even if you’re already in college, keep on applying for scholarships. With this, you can get funding for the housing, books, and other costs inside the university.

4. Take AP Classes

In some states, they offer college credit for lessons which are already taken during high school. These AP classes are taught in a higher standard and require studying using AP books.

Sometimes, they give credit, especially in a public university. The credits can be transferred to state schools depending on where you are residing. With this, you can reduce the number of units or loads in your current semester and save money.

5. Get a Private Loan

Some student applies for loans to survive in college. There are various student loans that offer lower interest rates versus federal student loans.

But, it is essential to remember that you have to meet the requirements set by the credit company. Sometimes, you also need a cosigner to qualify for the loan.

Thus, you must consider carefully whether student loans must be a part of your college life. These types of loans do not have protections, unlike federal loans.

6. Get a Job

Apart from checking on the best student loans available today, you can also check the hiring page for college students. This can give you some money to pay for your living expenses. Aside from money, some businesses offer free meals.

Whether you work off or on campus, the income that you have can help you with your education expenses. This can also reduce the loan that you need to borrow.

During summer vacation, you can work to earn money for the coming semester. However, make sure to balance your work and studies so you can pass your degree.

The Bottom Line

As someone who wants to survive in college, you’ll undoubtedly be carrying extensive debt with you. However, don’t let this sum allow you to rely on the bank of Mom and Dad any more than is absolutely necessary.

To become an independent college student, stay on top of your finances and cut your student debt by working hard, consolidating your debts and ditching credit cards.

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About the author

Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs is a personal finance expert, and the founder of My Millennial Guide, a personal finance site helping you put more money in your pocket. He helps millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the the future. He regularly writes about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. He has been quoted as a top personal finance blogger in major publications including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, MSN Money and more.

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