Staying on top of debt is tough, especially when you're still in school. It's best to minimize the amount of student loans you take out, but you have to have enough money to live without being constantly stressed out. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your student loan debt and save money while you're in college.
Buy Used Books
Many students head straight to the college book store to purchase their books as soon as they have completed registration. This is the most convenient way to get books, but also the most expensive. Sharing your books with a group of classmates, borrowing them from the library or purchasing used books can help you save hundreds of dollars each quarter, which allows you to take out smaller student loans. Consider taking the extra time to contact professors, who are often to put students in contact with their previous students looking to sell their books. It can also be worthwhile to do a quick search online for your text books. Large online retailers such as Amazon often sell textbooks without the extra markup of university bookstores.
Get a Job
It's best if you can find a part-time job in the field you are studying because it provides you the most networking opportunities. Talking to professors is always a good start. Oftentimes professors have research projects with an allotted budget to hire on a few research assistants. Nonetheless, any job will help you get through school without racking up huge loans. Some students work as much overtime as possible during the summer so that they don't have to work during the school year. This is an especially good idea for students who have a high course load or those who have a difficult time in their classes and need as much time as possible for studying. Ask your adviser about working on campus, as it will save you commuting time as well as transportation costs.
Add to Your Savings Account Monthly
It may seem like beginning to pay off your student loans is more important than saving money, but when unexpected expenses arise you will be glad that you have some money saved. Even putting $25 per month into a savings account will help you get into the habit of saving instead of spending all of your money. Saving for the future is smart too. You won't be in college forever, and you can't get loans for retirement. Beginning to save for retirement during college is an excellent idea because compounding interest adds up to a large amount of money over the years.
Pay Non-Subsidized Loans First
Student loans that are subsidized by the government usually have better loan terms than unsubsidized loans. One of the biggest benefits of taking out subsidized student loans versus non-subsidized is that as long as you are in school at least half-time the government will pay the interest on your subsidized loans. Interest on these loans generally begins to accrue after you have been out of school for six months. Interest also doesn't accrue when subsidized loan payments are on deferment. The interest on non-subsidized loans usually begins to accrue as soon as the loan is taken out, which means that even if you are not required to make payments while you are in school, interest is still accruing and can really add up if you aren't making any payments.
Post provided by TD Financial.