College can be really expensive these days! There are few ways to avoid the big cost of college if you are planning to go. Those that attend college, on average carry about $40,000 in student loan debt! That is just on average, depending on the program and school you choose, it could be far more expensive.
While these numbers may be intimidating, there are plenty of ways you can help prevent yourself from drowning in student loan debt.
Many young people expect their parents to pay for their education. However, this is not an option for most kids, and it should not be. After all, it is your education, why wouldn’t you pitch in?
Below you will find some tips that will help you establish healthy money habits and ways to help you save money for college.
Start Looking for a Job
From working a full-time summer job to a part-time job after school, a job is a great way to earn money for college. A job will not only help you put some money aside for school, but you will also gain valuable work experience that will help you land a more serious job after graduation.
There are plenty of job opportunities for teenagers. If you enjoy the outdoors, consider looking at working as a camp counselor for summer camps. If you really want to make some money for your college fund, try applying to restaurants in your area. Waiters and waitresses can make a good income off tips. One of the best things about the restaurant industry is you can apply for these jobs anywhere! Even when you are at college you may want to look into a part-time restaurant job near your college.
If the restaurant industry does not interest you there is plenty of work for cashiers and stock clerks. These positions can be easy to land even without a ton of work experience and would make a great first job. Also, keep in mind most jobs come with perks like employee discounts. If there is a particular store you like, consider filling out a job application.
Open a Savings Account
Now that you are going to be making all this money with your new job, you are going to need somewhere to put it. To make sure you are actually putting money aside for college rather than spending it, open up a savings account with Health Advantage Credit Union.
A savings account with Health Advantage CU is a designated safe place to hold your hard-earned money. The idea is that you will consistently contribute to your account and watch it grow. Think of your savings account as the grown-up version of a piggy bank. You want to leave the money alone and only access it when the time comes to pay for college. The best way to make sure you are consistently putting money into your savings account is set up a portion of your paycheck to be direct deposited into your account.
Now that you’re ready to start putting some money aside for college and your new savings account is going to help remove the temptation to spend your college money, it’s important to know that you will earn a small amount of interest on the total amount in your account. That’s right, we will pay you a small percentage of your total savings if you keep your money in your account.
Learning how to maintain your savings with your new account will teach you basic financial habits that will help you throughout your life.
Get in the Habit of Saving Money Vs. Spending it
This almost goes hand in hand without saying, but if you want to save up money for college, you are going to have to change your spending habits. When you first start making money there is the temptation to treat yourself, but this is an adjustment you are going to have to make.
Like we said previously, college is expensive. Unless you want to graduate with tens of thousands of student loan debt, you are going to have to start putting a decent portion of your paycheck aside.
To get in the habit of saving money and not spending it, you are going to need to remove temptation. If you come across something you must have, try waiting 24 hours. If you can still justify why you need the purchase after a waiting period, you can make the decision.
Make sure to remember, when it comes to savings, no amount is too little. Even if you receive money as a birthday gift, consider putting a portion into your saving fund. You will not regret it!
Apply for EVERY Scholarship You Can
When the time finally comes to apply for college and after all your hard work saving up for it, make sure you look into scholarship opportunities. Scholarships are essentially free money you can put towards your college tuition that you do not have to pay back.
There are plenty of scholarships out there that the average student is not aware of. Even if you do not have the most impressive grades or athletic ability, it is still worth looking at the scholarships that your chosen college offers.
Many Scholarship receive a low number of applicants because some students do not have to worry about paying for college themselves. Take advantage of the low application rates, you never know what you may qualify for. When looking into scholarships think about how little time it takes to apply to a scholarship and compare it to how many hours you would have to work to earn that same amount of money.
The best thing about scholarships is you can apply for them every year you are enrolled in college!
When the time comes, don't forget to reach out to your Health Advantage Financial Experts for any questions you may have!
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