Are you worried about paying for college? Coming up with the cash to pay for attend college can be overwhelming, but here are some key ways for you to find some funding and save for your future education. If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, consider adding one or more of these to your list — we’ll be cheering you on!
1. Invest in Applying for Funds
Grants, loans and scholarships could be yours, depending on your or your family’s income level and other factors. But you have to take those first step. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to apply for the funding. Then take the time to check out scholarships. Some websites such as Fastweb.com and Finaid.com have lists of scholarships; other scholarships may be offered by the college you will be attending, or your town or a local civil group.
2. Curb Coffee Drinking
If you visit Starbucks or another coffee shop so much that they know your name and order, start cutting back now on those splurges, which can save major bucks each week. Or if coffee isn’t your thing, consider a comfort food you are buying on a regular basis (from smoothies to frozen yogurt to energy drinks to junk food) and try limiting those purchases a bit. The same is true for vices such as cigarettes. To start, total up how much you spent on those items in one week and try cutting it in half. Then put that money away in your savings account for school.
3. Earn Interest
Consider getting a short-term Certificate of Deposit, or a CD, to save money and earn a higher rate of interest on the funds compared to a typical savings account. You will not be able to pull out the money for at least three months, without a penalty, and if you can keep it in for a year or more, the interest rate will be higher and you can earn more. You also can add money to the account — from birthdays and holidays or what you’re earning at work — to help it grow even more.
4. Buy Used
Get into the habit of buying used clothes and other items so that it won’t be unusual for you to do so when you’re in school. If you have children, even thrift stores and yard sales could be a way to find items for them, for birthdays and holidays, without paying the price of buying new.
Just keep in mind that making these money moves now will enable you to make an investment in your future by going to school.
-Additional reporting by Carolyn Crist