The current common obsession with university students is student loans, which is completely understandable. Student loans tend to be by far the largest debts that students carry. But they’re hardly the only ones. Generally much smaller, but still potentially threatening, are car loans, personal loans from family and friends, and credit card debts.
Students sometimes even play the shell game, in which they use various forms of credit to keep the level of student loan debt to an absolute minimum. But debt is debt, and all of it will have to be repaid sooner or later. With that in mind, you should want to work to keep your non-student loan debts at an absolute minimum.
Keep Control Of The Buy-Now-Pay-Later Mindset Common In StudentsThere’s a general feeling among students that now is the time to spend money, and it will be paid for largely with debt that will be repaid at a later date. This is a necessary part of the university student financial situation, but it should never be taken lightly.
The debt that you are incurring right now isn’t Monopoly money that will be magically extinguished soon after graduation. You may not have the income to pay it down or pay it off quickly, and worse, going into debt is a mindset that when adopted early in life, can follow you throughout life.
Earn As Much As You Reasonably Can
One of the very best ways to keep university debt – both student loans and non-student loan debt – to an absolute minimum is by working during your school years. Even if you aren’t able to earn enough money to pay for tuition, school fees and room and board, you can probably earn enough that you can cover basic living expenses, travel and entertainment and “pocket money”. The more you can earn, the less that will end up on credit cards or borrowed from friends and family.
Related: How Much Does School Cost?
Working during school can take on several phases. Most obviously you can hold a part time job while you are at school. But you can also work during the summers, including full time jobs. If the summer jobs are related to your major it will be a double win – more money and relevant experience. And you can also work to build your own online business. Again, there’s a dual advantage here. You can not only earn an income, but you can also be creating a business that you will have up and running by the time you graduate. That might even serve as your primary occupation once you graduate.
Apply For Every Grant Or Scholarship You Can
Students often avoid applying for all but a few grants or scholarships, either because doing so is a hassle, or out of fear that they won’t be approved. Nonsense – apply for every grant or scholarship you can get!
The more you can get – or get any at all – the less you’ll have to pay for university out of pocket, or borrow to cover.
Keep Your Lifestyle To A Bare Minimum
Most students try to live a frugal lifestyle during their time at university, but not all do or do consistently.
You may have to accept that university is a time of living on the financial edge, not unlike a starving artist. If you can accept and embrace that concept to the core of your soul, you may be able to avoid excess spending. This kind of spending can include many of the adventures that university students dream of, including travel and frequent concert attendance.
Everyone needs diversion, but when you’re a student that just may not be in the cards, especially if you want to avoid building up debt that you’ll have to pay off after graduation.
University is a special time when you’re preparing for the rest of your life. Like any venture in life that’s worthwhile, that will require sacrifice that will involve large amounts of discomfort, and sometimes even pain. But it will be well worth the prize awaiting at the end. And that prize – a degree that will enable you to enter an exciting new career – will be so much more satisfying if you acquire it with less debt in tow.
If you can keep that in mind while you’re in school, you’ll have a reasonable shot at keeping your debt to a minimum, whether it’s actual student loan debt, or other kinds of debt that often build up at the same time.