For college students, the start of a new semester is the perfect time to do some financial soul searching. Try some of these tricks to help lower student loan debt in your college life.
How to Lower Student Loan Debt in Everyday Life
It’s never too late to start making smart money choices. After all, you don’t want to be a part of the 31 percent financially reliant on their parents throughout adulthood do you? So here are a few ways to help keep your everyday expenses low to avoid getting yourself into any more debt than you need.
Create a Budget
Start by making a budget based on your income and expenses. If you have a savings goal or any credit card debt you need to repay, make sure to include those items before allocating money for entertainment (so many free events on campus anyway). A budget will help you to control your spending. You may not need as much money as you planned to borrow in student loans.
Evaluate Your Dining Expenses
If you are spending too much on eating out each week, you will need to cut back. Similarly, if you didn’t use your meal plan to the fullest during the fall semester, request to downgrade it. This could save you a lot of money. Make sure you add some cheap meals into your budget to replace the ones you are losing in the dining halls.
Reconsider Your Bank Account and Credit Card
If you have been paying unnecessary fees for banking, consider switching your account to another financial institution. There are online banks without branches that offer little to no fees. There are often special offers for students as well.
Also consider your current credit cards. Are you able to handle having credit or do you blow through your budget? Does the credit card have an annual fee? Just because they’re offering you 0% for the first year doesn’t mean the upcoming APR is a good deal. It’s easy to obtain a credit card, but very difficult to manage your debt, especially if you don’t have much of an income.
Research the Cheapest Textbook Options
Avoid heading right down to the campus book store. Is your textbook available to rent? Is there a used version online or in a store that can be bought cheaper? A classmate can most likely make a copy of pages you can’t access before your books arrive in the mail.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Your student ID is much more valuable than you think. Having an email ending with an .edu gives you access to countless retail discounts nationwide. Showing your student ID can help you save money on food, transportation and entertainment.
Check out ACCC’s College Financial Workbook for a complete breakdown of how to select a bank, earn money while going to school, budgeting, and a complete list of discounts including Apple, J Crew, Amazon and so many more! Using all these tools is a great way to lower student loan debt.