I want to preface this by saying the best way to save on your college loan is to not go to college! It is a personal choice, but if your career aspirations require a diploma or you just want the "college experience," follow these steps...
1. Know what you want to do. I bounced around three schools for five and a half years. Couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. Kept changing majors. This was a costly mistake. If you need to, take time off, get a job, pay down some of the loans you have already acquired, and go from there.
2. Go to a community college. They are generally far cheaper than state or private schools.
3. Go to school close to home or better yet, super close to home.
A. Most sane parent(s)/guardian(s) will let you continue living with them if you go to college. My first two years were spent living with my dad. Summers at state/private college spent living at my grandma's.
B. The closer your livable location, the less gas spent driving there. If it's really close, walk or bike there. My last semester of college I didn't buy a parking permit, which saved me $75 + gas money and allowed me to walk or bike the 1.5 miles everyday. Planet thanked me too. Winfinity, folks.
C. Staying in state is generally cheaper than going to school out of state.
4. Do your research!
A. Make sure if you go to one college to save money, that all of your credits will transfer to the school you plan on going to afterwards. Not doing this can cost you an extra semester or two (aka thousands of dollars). Some state universities have programs like this set up with community colleges, to where even if they don't have a class you took, they can just mark it in as open elective - worked for me anyways.
B. I kept saying "generally" above. Scout out grants and scholarships you're eligible for, as well as prices of schools around you. I was suppose to pay $14,000+ for one semester at a private school, but only ended up paying under two grand for being a poor nerd. Gotta do homework when you get to college, so you might as well start now!
5. Get roommates. The more, the merrier. I lived in a huge house for a year, only paying $250 a month in rent and utilities. Dorms are smaller, less private for around the same price, sometimes more - it varies (See step 4). The one disadvantage is most landlords rope you into a year long contract. You can stay the year and take summer classes there, or try subletting, which I never did. I personally recommend finding someone on Craigslist, etc. who needs a roommate and negotiate payments from there. I called a bunch of people and got a super cheap spot and didn't have to pay an extra dime for time I wasn't there. If you find someone desperate enough for a roomie, they will bite at anything.
6. Skip college meal plans. Even if you eat raw vegan there, part of your money given to the cafeteria company will go to buy more meat and dairy products for everyone else. The bananas there likely won't be ripe. Other raw fruit and veg options will be scant and lower quality. Save your money and put it towards groceries you can pick out and local seasonal food grown in your area (if available).
7. Get a part time job. I did 12-16 credit hours every semester and easily worked 10-20 hour weeks. Minimum wage or not, any money you make in college is less money you have to pay back later.
8. "Book" your savings. It can be a bit of a hassle but can save you hundreds, even thousands of clams over the course of your college career.
A. Sell your books online or to other students at your school. This cuts out the middle man of the bookstore who buys your books for practically pennies and sells em for hundreds of dollars lol. Scout out their prices and put up ads around campus for the same book 10-15% less.
B. Piggy-backing the last point of selling books, buying books online or from other students at reduced rates of the monopoly that is your college bookstore is vital. I had an account with a website that you could buy and sell from local students but must have deleted the bookmark >:-O I'm sure Craigslist and Amazon could get you deals, though.
C. Buy used books whenever possible. Even if you're told to buy the brand new 4th edition of something, a used 3rd edition will be almost the exact same thing. Plus, you can tell your professor you already bought the old book. Most of them are super sympathetic to students when it comes to finances. They'll let you know about any specific changes you need to know if you just ask.
9. It's a college campus, so take advantage. Free internet, free library card, free sports games, free stand-up comedians, free gym, free intramural sports leagues. My top two experiences were hearing a fantastic speeches by Cornel West and Dr. Bart Ehrman. I paid a whopping zero dollars combined. Well, that's kind of a lie. It was all a part of my tuition costs, but you gotta pay it either way, so get the most for your money!
10. Get the grades.If you get the grades, you get the knowledge. Knowledge is power. This is the reason you're going to college in the first place...right? lol. The things I've learned in school shaped me into the person I am today. I doubt I would have ever gone vegan without expanding my mind and thirst for knowledge. If you aim to just get a degree by cramming for tests, plagiarizing papers, skipping class, and so on, then you just set yourself up for bad habits after college, which I will delve into now.
Out of college, into a job...
1. Get a full time job pronto if you can. Apply anywhere and everywhere. You obviously make a lot of money full time. Plus, the added incentive of reduced medical, dental, and vision insurance through your employer is always nice (although I'm questioning the point of having it now that I never get sick due to raw). PTO (paid time off) is a great perk too.
2. Work your butt off! Another bonus of a full time job is, well, the bonuses! I got a rare full bonus for my first year, because I out-performed everyone on my team. This hard work also got me a promotion and pay raise. Just like college, you get what you aim for. Slacking off or just getting by gets you first on the fired or laid-off list.
3. Be accountable. Being 811 and even just high raw at some points has made me immune to sickness. Bosses like that lol. I used to get sick with colds, sore/strep throats, flu, etc. three or four times a year like everybody else does. Conversely, two people on my team alone have cancer. Most of the rest are overweight or obese. Needless to say, they're sick and miss work left and right. They also have to take half days for doctor appointments and such. Production also understandably dips when you work with a bug.
4. A positive attitude helps as well. Just don't be plastic and brown nose. If you disagree with something, say something. Just do it in a respectful manner. I disputed a few of our processes and suggested solutions to them. I ended up getting three things changed that now save my company money by simply questioning the status quo. Y'all are raw vegans, so it's in your blood to do this! Even if your ideas get shot down, it at least shows you care about your job and the company, which will help when interviewing/asking for a promotion and/or pay raise.
Your overall lifestyle...
1. Cut out the excess weight.Skip restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gambling (even if there are 640 million reasons to do it), etc. Luckily, some of these don't fit our raw lifestyle anyway. Kill a watt. Unplug appliances when not in use. Research how to increase gas mileage (when you have to drive someplace). Cancel your gym membership and use your body or bike trails for fitness. Even home workout DVDs are cheaper than a gym. List goes on.
2. Substitute what can't be eliminated for generic or cheaper options. Man-made material shoes are almost always cheaper than leather. Been wearing $15 recycled material shoes since 2010 - still going strong...kind of. I've got a friend who drops a Benjamin every 6 months on Jordans. Do the math and I'm saving hundreds on shoes alone (compared to some anyway).
3. Adopt some of the above college tips like getting roommates or a spouse to split bills.
4. Make small investments that save you money in the long run. Spending a little extra on my raw vegan diet has given me extra mental clarity and mental energy, which, as already discussed, got me a bonus and a pay bump down the road. On vacation, buy a cheap tent (or make your own shelter) and camp out rather than spend tons on a hotel or resort. I could go on and on about how I save myself nickles and dimes, but it's kind of pointless when everyone's situation is different. Plus, on this site, I'm kind of preaching to the choir on some of these points. Perhaps it will strengthen your resolve at the very least. Guess I'll just conclude by saying be creative and resourceful. Think outside the box. Do your homework. Map out and explore your options.
All of these tips, no matter how big or small, have allowed me to lessen my spending. The moral of the story is it didn't just take me one year to pay off a huge loan, it took me almost seven years of cutting corners to do so. I get crap from my friends all the time for being such a cheapskate, but their college loans are still in the tens of thousands of dollars. As of today, mine is $0.00 :) Best birthday present I got this year by far, and I still got some leftover for a rainy day. Eating green, living green, and now financially in the green. Am I making you green with envy? :P
Please pass this on. I didn't type all this out to brag. The more loans people pay off now or not have to begin with is the less money banks can make off people from interest or stealing their possessions. The less money they have, the less power they have. Also, I see posts on here now and then about people unable to afford this diet. Take all this advice and you won't be able to afford not being an 811er. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Don't "live for today," live for the rest of your life. Add your tips below and have a magical day. Now to "invest" in a birthday durian lol. Peace.
Updates from 30Badders:
To save from sifting through the comments, this is advice from other users that should be taken into account as well...
Per Alison Olhava and Alexandra R.: Take advanced placement (college transferable) classes in high school. They are free for starters. Secondly, they can help to get you out of college earlier (3.5 years versus 4) and get to working faster.
Paraphrased from Leslie: Don't buy books, rent them! It obviously depends if you buy a cheap used book and resell it at a similar price whether that would save more net money than renting, but it is still better than the classic buy new and sell back used at a very reduced rate.
Good variety of ideas from carine martine: 1. Blend your own food versus buying processed canned food. 2. Grow your own food from plants/trees. 3. Buy second-hand clothes, furniture, school supplies, etc.
Taken verbatim from Rose von Vegan: "Explore options of study abroad, as this can in many cases work out cheaper, and looks great on your resume. You could even learn a new language! Great countries with English programs and high quality education are plentiful. The Netherlands and Belgium are pretty cheap and popular, but there are also options in other countries. You may also be eligible for generous scholarships that could cover up to 100% of your costs."
Also verbatim from Rose von Vegan: "Check to see if the book is available for free online! You might still need a paper copy for another reason, but if you do not, you should check online. Sensitive and politically-aware lecturers understand student financial concerns and may be into promoting free publications. These are often available online and can be usually viewed on an e-reader or your PC. Tip: use Calibre to convert pdfs to ebook formats for an ereader, and Foxit PDF reader on the PC since it is more stable with large files and quicker to load. Both free."
Verbatim from pretiola: "Check out collegeplus.org everyone! It still takes some money, but the average is about $15000 for a 4 year degree from most any college you want in as little as 2 -3 years. It's a self-study program with coaching and then passing the CLEP test. It allows you to continue to live a normal life with a job without having to actually attend a college. But, the warning is you have to be self motivated and disciplined. There are options out there!"
Such awesome tips! Let's make this list go to the moon so that a full ride will cost like twenty bucks haha!
That's totally true. These tips won't apply to everyone. Hopefully people can cherry pick the ones that fit their own situation. Good thing I never wanted to be a lie-yer ;)
Community college is where its atttt! I have heard from ppl who go to UCs that the classes here at my cc are harder than those of ucs. I am here to LEARN. As much as possible.
Overall, community and state classes were pretty easy for me, but that doesn't mean I wasn't learning! The professors just kept me motivated and interested, which kept me coming to class and taking notes. It was all downhill from there. Some professors were tough, though. Private was a step up, but I thought of it more as busy work than learning.
"1) get a schoalarship"
I concur. I observe even very poor students doing very well by winning scholarships (which cover tuition fees and provide a living allowance as well). I was a recipient of one and could not complete my doctorate otherwise.
This isn't true--I know several attorneys who went to community college for two years, then transfered to an instate public school. They went to good law schools. So, doing either will not inhibit a person's dreams.
Law schools care about your GPA and your LSAT scores, not necessarily where you went to undergrad. It definitely matters, but it isn't the be-all, end-all... especially if you were a mover and shaker at your university. Sure, you might not go to Harvard, but you can get into very respectable institutions (top 50) by following the methods outlined above.
Interest rates are the exact reason I was so motivated to pay this puppy off as fast as possible. It's just taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Thanks for the comment and spreading the word. The bird is the word.
Thanks for the tips! I'm a freshman at my local community college. I also want to look for a job, but too busy with student body, and other club stuff.
Saving money on books is a major one. I spent 700+ last semester buying books from the campus bookstore for only 5 classes. This semester I rented all of my books and saved over 500 dollars and lots of trees.
I still really want to get a job though.
Oh I totally forgot about renting books! It came into fashion my last semester or two and never tried it. Thanks for the input :D
thanks 4 this, hope you'll get lots of positive feedback. My personal recommendation would be buy at least as possible "processed" food (bottled, jarred, dried...). Invest in a blender to make all your food by yourself (IF YOU can nurse some plants (aromatic magic for juices/ sorbets)/ trees (self harvesting blessings...) THE MAX. !!).What about buying second hand clothes , furniture & other things ?
I know it. I'm 6'4" so I have to buy a lot of my clothes new in special sizes, but my brother just got a $50 brand name sweater at Goodwill for 2 bucks! I've been cutting my own hair since 2008. Use the hair buzzer on my face too, so no more razor or shaving creme. There are so many easy ways people can save themselves money if they just gave up on the status quo.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You Mathyou!
This is some of the most sensible and sane advice I have read in regards to young people making decisions in starting their lives.
BTW, I personally lean towards people getting a degree if possible. I firmly believe that we have to use society to change society. A college degree is a credential one can use as a stepping stone towards become an expert in their field of choice be it nutrition or environmental.
Yea, we might now agree with all of our classes, but what is the benefit of taking them anyways? We know what the guy on the other side of the fence thinks, and then we know how to talk to him and convince him otherwise.
I am going to feature this.
The thing is I think people realize a lot of these things at the very least on a subconscious level, but they shrug it off thinking it's only a little extra out of laziness or obeying societal norms. All of these things added up over time make such a huge difference, though. I wish people were more proactive.
Yeah, I definitely waffle on weather people should go or not. Everyone's dreams are different, so it depends.
Thanks for featuring. XD