You want to start thinking about how you are financing college before you even apply to a college. How do you save money for college? Hopefully, your parents have started a savings fund for college when you were born. If they did not then do not despair you can still start saving for college at any time. The earlier the better but better late, than never.
If you know for a fact that your parents or family, in general, do not have a college fund set up for you or they can’t really help you pay for tuition, then you should know and be prepared to fill out scholarships and apply for loans.
There are so many college students out there that have to do this. I know a family friend that was able to use the Pell Grant and OIG Grant to pay for their schooling back in the ’90s.
Even if your parents are helping a little, you will still have some left to pay for as well as books and everyday life as a college student.
College is expensive and it doesn’t stop at tuition.
You will have to buy everything for your dorm and everything that you have to take to college as well. You also will not know how much your books are going to be until essentially right before your first semester starts. Sometimes you have to pay money for clubs and extracurriculars in college as well.
Just know and be prepared to save money so that you can live comfortably at college. You are already going to have so many things to worry about your first year of college and it may be a little overwhelming. The last thing that you need is to be completely struggling with money for food and day to day things.
There is no right answer on how to save money for college but here are some tips and tricks that may help you along the way.
Get a Job in High School
My best advice would be to get a job in high school as soon as you turn 16. This doesn’t mean you have to work 40 hours a week or anything.
First off, having a job teaches you valuable life lessons. It teaches you how to be responsible and deal with money at a young age. These are good skills to have.
Having a job also looks very good on college and scholarship applications because it shows that you can be counted on and that you know how to juggle responsibilities. Start out slower if you need to and just get a simple job that works 10-15 hours a week and then by the time you are almost a senior you want to kick up a notch and basically work as much as you can while still enjoying being a high schooler.
I worked 25-30 hours a week all throughout high school. I still had time to hang out with my friends and be a normal high school student.
Having that job helped me in so many ways. It gave me the money to buy a car and help me go to college. It paid for a lot of my dorm decor/decorations and clothes for college.
I had enough money from this small part-time job to help me get to my first year of college. Most of the things I needed at college, the money I saved lasted me throughout the first semester and beyond. It really helped me when I was struggling to find a job at college.
Especially if you know you need a new laptop or tablet for school, having a small job in high school is the best way to pay for this. I’m not saying you have to have a job in high school or to be a successful college student. I’m just saying that if you know you need a little help in the financial aspect of college, then the best thing you can do is get a job.
You can’t complain about struggling financially if you aren’t even doing anything to help yourself make money. A job is a job and as long as you have some form of income, you will have money to save for college.
Here are some jobs you can do in high school.
Dog sitting services such as Rover pay very well so sign up and start making some extra cash. You actually have to like dogs to do this job.
Swagbucks is one way to make money.
You can do Survey Junkie to make extra cash in high school.
If you are good at writing or English then be a proofreader or freelance writer.
The spring and summer before your off to college is when everything really starts hitting you. You start realizing what all you are going to have to do and buy in order to actually have what you need as a college student.
This has been one of the most stressful parts of my life to this day.
College is a big change and more than likely, it is the biggest change you’ll have in your life so far. If you start worrying more about money and feel like you need extra cash, ask around to see if anyone needs a babysitter, dog sitter, house sitter, etc. These are the best little side jobs that are flexible and pay well.
If you babysit once a week or once every two weeks, it could really give you some extra cash.
Once again, this is not something that you have to do. It is just simply a way you can make more money to spend on things for college once you get there.
There are so many random costs at college that you need to be prepared and have money saved. I know a lot of people in my town would post on Facebook or some other social media platform to tell people that they are looking for side jobs over the summer. It usually worked pretty well for them.
I babysat several times the summer before college and I definitely used the extra money towards college.
Don’t Spend all your Money on Materialistic Things
You need to set priorities and figure out what is most important to you. If you know you are paying for most of your college then don’t get your nails done every other week and dye your hair twice a month.
You want to focus on the things for your dorm, books, and tuition.
You’re going to want to buy some clothes for college and you will need winter clothes if you go to a northern school. Make sure you understand what the weather is like in the place you are moving to.
If you are too focused on the materialistic things at college, then you are never going to have enough money to buy everything you actually need.
For instance, you may need winter boots and a winter coat but you want to buy a bunch of cute hats, gloves, and scarves. Now, you can get those things if you have the means to, however, if you are just barely scraping by for college then that’s probably not your best option.
This is a hard thing to do but it really pays off in the end. If you get a job in college then you can use that money to buy more clothes and things once you get there.
Check out this post on the ultimate college dorm list, what you need to buy for college.
Normally everyone has a graduation party which means that normally everyone gets a decent amount of cash from it. Graduation parties are fun and are put on for many reasons, but one reason is to get money for college.
You really need to make sure that you don’t blow this money.
It’s probably going to be the biggest chunk of cash you have made in a while. It will be hard for you to not go spend it on that purse or Nike shoes you’ve been wanting for months. But, this chunk of money can make the biggest difference in your first semester of college.
I personally used my graduation to buy myself a new laptop which was so beneficial to me. I wasn’t sure how I would have the money to buy that big of a purchase. This graduation money gave me the means to buy a laptop that is critical to success in college.
Although the laptop cost almost the entire amount, I did still put the rest in my savings account.
Because I had a job at the time, I didn’t feel obligated to spend my graduation money because I already had money to spend.
Use your graduation money wisely and make sure that you are taking advantage of having all of this money right before you go to school.
If you get a decent amount of money in scholarships, then you won’t owe as much money to your school. Scholarships can make a tremendous difference especially if you are already worried about having enough money for college.
Scholarships can be the difference between having debt and not having debt or just the amount of debt you have. No matter what your financial situation is, you should fill out as money scholarship applications as you possibly can.
You can read how to go to college with no money.
Check out Scholly to find scholarships to apply for online.
Overall, each person is going to go about saving money in a different way. Money is a huge aspect of going to college. But, no matter how much money you or your parents have, you can figure it out and make it happen.
There is no right or wrong answer as long as you are aware of the fact that you need to save money and be prepared for college. College preparation takes a lot of time, money, and effort. All that you can do is try your best to prepare yourself and save money to ensure you have a happy and successful first year of college.