Saving on Education Related Expenses

With all the other demands placed on your budget, finding room for one more expense may seem impossible. How in the world are you supposed to fund your education when everything else is just as high on the priority scale? Saving money for college or other educational pursuit can be incredibly frustrating, not to mention confusing and frightening. But it is just as important, if not more so, than everything else on your plate right now. Obtaining your education is going to get you farther in life than anything else, so get started.

Obviously scholarships and loans are the first place to start. If you are currently in school, talk to your guidance counselor about doing a scholarship search, and ask about the ones for which you might be qualified. You can also turn to the internet to research available scholarships. Websites such as FastWeb offer customized searches based on ethnicity, age, major, GPA, location, etc. Don’t feel limited by your current or past academic scores- you’d be surprised at how many scholarships are available for any type of student. Many experts offer this advice- “Apply early and apply often.”

Next, apply for financial aid. No matter what your current financial situation may be, you could still be eligible for financial assistance. Start by visiting the federal government’s financial aid website-, which will take you through a step-by-step process to determine your eligibility. Depending on your age, the application might require a parent’s signature.

Take a critical look at your current credit card status. It’s easy to get into credit card debt when you’re trying to save money for college. It makes sense to charge as much as possible so you can save all your “real” money for school, right? Wrong. Talk to a credit counselor about consolidating your credit cards into one monthly expense. Make sure you’re paying your credit card bills on time- late fees can really add up to major expenses. Whatever you do, don’t go over your limit- this shows up on your credit report and gives your credit card company an excuse to charge you more penalties. The ideal credit card to have is one that has the lowest interest rate, no annual fees, and a low credit limit (but enough to use in an emergency).

Textbooks can be a major blow to your educational budget. Before you order textbooks for your upcoming classes, try to find classmates that might have taken the class before. Ask to borrow the textbook for the semester. Never purchase brand new textbooks- you can buy the same book for half the price if it’s used. Generally speaking, hardcover books will be cheaper than their soft cover counterparts. When you’re finished with a textbook for the semester, sell it online. You’ll be able to get some money back that you can save for next semester’s textbooks.