Getting a Handle on Your Personal Finances in College. How to Get Out Debt Free
Getting a Handle on your Personal Finances in College. How to get out Debt Free
Trying to track your finances in college can be an arduous task. Students of online degrees would benefit if they were financially conservative so that they don’t rack up any debt in college.
The following suggestions are meant to help you manage your existing finances as well as exploring some places where you are able to get other modes of financing to help you pay for school.
The first thing you can do is create a spending plan.
Regardless of your current income, you need to establish some personal finance habits. You need to come up with a range you are comfortable with and then stick to it! For example I can spend $80-$100 on food per week.
Come up with a Savings Plan
Even if it’s just a few dollars per week. Saving anything is really more important than how much is saved. Just forming the habits is more important than how much is saved.
Establish an Emergency Fund
This is such a difficult task for students because they don’t have the extra money if an emergency arises. Set a small goal, for example if you lost a book or got a flat tire, it doesn’t have to be a lot of money. You just want something, anything to get you through that tight spot,
Be Careful With Credit Cards
Credit cards can make it easy to not know where you’re spending the money. Too many students use credit cards as cash dispensers and purchase things they really can’t afford. On the one hand, having a credit card and paying it off helps you establish good credit and can help you buying that car or apartment down the road. But on the other hand, if you rack up debt that you can’t pay off—it’s going to do the opposite and lower your credit score. Have a zero policy for debt. Paying interest on things like clothes and alcohol and do go into debt for it is a really bad idea. Student Loans are the only thing worth going into debt for, and then have a plan to pay that load back.
Can you do Anything to Save Money in College?
You can do simple things right away like waiting to buy those expensive textbooks. Some the books you have to buy aren’t even used in class. In certain English classes, a lot of the short stories and reading materials can be found online. Of course, certain professors use all of the required books and that’s fine. However, investigate the reading material you truly need to buy. You may be able to cut a few corners.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Most campuses and local merchants can offer up to a 20% discount on purchase for students with a valid school id.
Increase Your Income
A lot of times students focus only on academics and choose not to work. If you are creative, there may be place you can make extra money by investigating paid internships. Plenty of students are able to balance work and school.
Federal Grants Can Save You Thousands of Dollars
The Department of Education spends billions annually through grants for students.
The primary benefit it that students do not have to pay the government back. . Students are eligible for grants by completing and submitting the FAFSA form. Although there are many grants, the main opportunities are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant), and other institutional grants.
Scholarships-Free Money Available to Students
Similar to grants, scholarships are sources of funding (or other promised aid) gifted to students to pursue their graduate or undergraduate education—no repayment necessary. While college scholarships are granted for a variety of reasons, the most common are student merit, financial need, athleticism, ethnicity and field of study.
Although scholarships do not need to be repaid, some are awarded with certain stipulations (such as enrolling in a particular field of study or working with a certain organization).
Like grants, scholarships are money that is given by governments, foundations and non-profit organizations. One of the main differences between scholarships and grants is that scholarships tend to have more rigid requirements for selection, and are typically targeted towards those going to college. Scholarships will require students to meet certain requirements, both before and after they've obtained it, while grants vary widely in their requirements, amounts and expectations. Plus they can be given under a variety of different circumstances.
To find scholarships, visit this US Department of Education website to search and browse for scholarships by category or discipline.
Tax Breaks for Online Degrees
Financing an education is a difficult task. The government provides many tax breaks in addition to grants and loans. To learn more about grants and loans visit the financial center of the online school's website.
Hope Scholarship Tax Credit
The name of this tax credit is misleading as it is not a scholarship rather it is a tax rebate. A family may claim $1,650 for each family member pursing higher education. Students must at least be taking class’s part time. The taxpayer’s income must not exceed $57,000 or $114,000 jointly.
The student cannot have committed a drug related felony. Taxpayers cannot also take the Lifelong Learning tax rebate in conjunction with the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit. The credit can only be used for the first two years of postsecondary education. Fill out IRS Tax form 8863 to apply for the rebate.