So you’re ready to begin the next chapter of higher learning… college. How exciting! But naturally, you’re also worried about making ends meet financially. After all, no matter how you slice it, school’s expensive.
Here are some common-sense tips along with some lesser known opportunities for stretching your savings and getting a head start on your future financial well-being.
- Look for bargains. Shop for dorm or apartment furnishings at discount retailers, resale stores and thrift shops. Better yet, ask your family and friends for castaway items. When it comes to buying textbooks, check out the used section of bookstores. You can often get books in near-new condition at a fraction of full price.
- Live within your means. Sure it’s great to see Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars when they blow into town. And maybe you need to splurge occasionally. But there’s plenty of cheap and free entertainment available to you. Check out local sporting events, theatre performances, lectures, museums and gallery openings. Or join an intramural team and stay in shape.
- Eat smart. Grabbing a burger or pizza on the go might be easy, but is it really smart? If you’ve got a meal plan at the dining hall, make sure you take full advantage of the three squares you can get there. Stay healthy by purchasing fresh and nutritious snacks at the local grocery.
- Work a part-time job. Few things look better on a resume than job experience. Even if it’s not in your chosen field, a part-time job can show that you’re willing to work hard. It can also help pay for your education costs and living expenses, and maybe even allow you to save a little for the future. Many colleges offer work-study jobs right on campus.
- Use tax credits and deductions. You – or your parents if you’re their dependent – may be able to claim tax credits and deductions for education expenses. The American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Student Loan Interest Deduction may all be ways to reduce the cost of your education.
- Get a scholarship. Many businesses and organizations offer scholarships that can make a big dent in what you spend on your education. Make sure you apply for any scholarships or other financial aid for which you’re eligible.
And speaking of which, America’s accounting firm, 1-800Accountant, offers a Scholarship Contest for Accounting Students. Any student studying or planning to study accounting who is a U.S. Citizen and has a minimum GPA of 3.0 can compete for up to $2,000 in scholarship money awarded to three winners of a short essay contest. To be eligible, tell us why studying accounting is beneficial to those looking to becoming an entrepreneur. Do so by November 30, 2017, and we’ll put you in the running. Click here for full contest rules. We want to help pave your way toward future success in the accounting world.