Everyone seems scared when they first start college – leaving home for an unfamiliar environment, not knowing what the semester will throw at you and of course, student debt.
According to U.S. News, the average student debt is a whopping $30,000. With figures like that it’s easy to see why so many students already feel sore in their finances before they even start classes.
To combat and even fend off the debt while at Auburn, here are some easy ways to earn and save money while you hit the books.
1. Do the math on where you live.
The lure of a fancy new apartment and a space to call one’s own can be especially enticing to new students. Dorms can also provide a sense of community with easy access to campus and short walks to class.
The trick is to pick the option that’s the least expensive with the most bang for your buck. Take the money you would spend on your dorm for the semester, this includes a meal plan, and divide it by the months in a semester. That is the amount you pay to live on campus per month for approximately nine months.
Now compare that to the cost of rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation that come with living in an apartment and spring for the most feasible option. Getting an apartment you pay for with a part time job could reduce the amount of borrowing you’d have to do for college, but keep in mind that some scholarships may require you to live on campus.
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2. Get a part time job.
This may seem like an obvious way to earn extra cash – as it should be. Auburn has loads of available jobs for students and holds career, internship as well as part-time job fairs that could boost your chances of employment.
Living in a college towns means there are tons of opportunities in retail and restaurants. If you’re worried about lack of experience the Auburn Career Center can help you build your resume.
Tutoring your peers is also a great way to earn cash. If you tutor independently, it gives you the flexibility to set your own prices and hours. According to PayScale.com, the average earning for student tutors is about $20 per hour. You can also be hired to tutor for Auburn Athletics or Study Parnters.
4. Sell your notes.
There are sites willing to pay you for writing notes. There are websites designed to allow students to upload their class notes to sell to their fellow classmates.
5. Shop wisely for textbooks.
Make sure you look around for the best deal; don’t be stuck buying $300 books when you can rent them for a reduced price at online retailers.
6. Borrow only what you need.
When applying for student loans, remember to only accept what you actually need. Borrowing more than you need leads to excess debt in the future and staving that off now makes a huge difference later.
Exhaust all other resources for funds – scholarships, grants, savings, etc – before turning to loans.
Also: Don’t spend money on things that aren’t school related. If you have extra left over go ahead and refund it back. If the money sits in your bank account you might be tempted to spend it.
7. Learn how to budget.
With the burden of new adulthood comes new responsibilities and one of those responsibilities is learning to budget. Going out every night to celebrate your new found freedom is fun, but it becomes less alluring when you’ve blown through your allowance or paycheck in a week.
Learning to budget will save you from the panic of wondering if you’ll be able to eat for the rest of the month. There are budgeting apps to help keep you accountable.
Tiara Bond can be reached at email@example.com.
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