Perkins or PLUS, subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford-student loans have become a prominent topic of conversation when discussing higher education. Need-based undergraduates at TCU are currently taking a total of about $22 million out in loans. Although this has not always been the case, the plummeting job market over the past few years combined with the increasing debt are the perfect recipe for putting young college students in a direct line of future debt.
There are, however, strides that can be taken and compromises that can be made in order to help students get a better grip on their current financial circumstances. Feeling forever indebted to American loan companies may, for some, be inevitable, but by making changes now, saving money in the present can actually be achievable.
For starters – get a bike. TCU is a bicycle-friendly campus, and for those who have dealt with parking on campus, it also can be somewhat of a saving grace. Most Americans shudder at the sight of gas prices, and if you do the math, aside from typical bicycle maintenance, riding a bike costs no money at all. Bicycles are on the comeback, and according to HuffPost College, Americans today are driving as much as they did six years ago, overall. As if saving money on gas isn’t a prize enough, riding a bike to and from campus keeps students healthy, and good health is always a money saver! TCU also offers free public transportation to students, faculty and staff, so if staying in shape is not your first priority, at least you can get around, and do it for free.
One of the priciest purchases made by college students are textbooks. For the most part, there is not really a loophole when it comes to dodging paying for the required books. An article published by HuffPost Tech in August stated that “the price of textbooks has risen twice as fast as inflation has over the past 20 years, as well as risen four times as fast as the median household income.” However there are many websites online that rent textbooks, or sell used textbooks at a cheaper rate. The popular Chegg.com, a site used by many students, allows them to rent the books that they need for the duration of the semester. Another convenient source, BookRenter, allows you to underline and highlight in the books that are borrowed. Alibris Textbooks, Textbook Rentals, and Rent Scooter are also trusted sources. For students who must purchase their books immediately, and don’t have time to wait on shipping and handling, here’s some advice – sell it back when you’re done.
So many little tweaks can be applied every day in order to keep money in your pocket. For example, avoid subscriptions. Magazine subscriptions are outdated and you can obtain most of the content online, and more importantly – the Skiff is free.
Also, take advantage of the vibrant student life that TCU has to offer. The university’s theCrew holds events almost daily and there is no shortage of free activities on campus. TCU also offers flu shots free of charge, as well as many athletic training classes at a reduced rate. Being frugal can be easy, it just takes a little looking around.
The most important step one can take in saving money while in college is to become proactive with your financial responsibilities now. Avoiding anything regarding the word “credit” is a great way to start. Hold off owing money to any particular place until after graduation, more debt – more problems. Try to use secured cards, which prohibit you from using money that you don’t already have. Lastly, always be sure to pay your bills on time: late fees can come in many different ugly shapes and sizes.
If there’s one aspect of life that isn’t worth skimping out on, it’s your education. Education is the most justifiable splurge, so making up for it can and should be easily done by all students. While maneuvering through the loan system is practically impossible, maneuvering through every day monetary setbacks is in fact the opposite!