Your student loan approval letter came in the mail and you’re eligible to borrow enough money for tuition, room and board and living expenses. Even though you have at least 10 years to repay the loan, try not to borrow more money than you absolutely need. Also, you’ll want to keep your expenses low now so you don’t have to take a job you don’t really like just because it pays more and you need the extra money to pay back your student loans.
Everybody who goes to college expects to get a job in their field of study or they wouldn’t be taking classes, studying and borrowing money to achieve their career goal. But, especially in this economy, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the job you want. It’s a good idea to accept that you might not get your ideal job or make as much money as you’d like and start planning ahead. Don’t just dream about all the money you hope to make; plan your realistic budget now.
Here are 10 questions to ask before applying for student loans.
- What if you don’t get the great paying job you’re expecting, how will you pay back your loans?
- Do you need an expensive, new car when a dependable used car will get you around and be paid off sooner?
- Instead of renting that spacious condo off campus why not live in a dorm room, rent a room or get a roommate?
- Why not buy a coffeemaker or fast food coffee rather than expensive gourmet coffee in a coffee shop?
- Getting a degree is great, but volunteer, apply for internships or jobs in your field before you graduate. How much further ahead will having a degree plus experience make you in the job market?
- You don’t need every premium channel in your cable package; you really can live without cable. How much money could you use for other expenses or put toward your student loan bill if you cut back on or cut out your cable bill?
- Avoid credit cards for students. True, they’ll help you establish credit, but do you want to ruin your credit rating if you can’t pay them off like you expect?
- Do you really need a gym membership? Most schools have a fitness facility that students can use for free or for a nominal fee. The Y also is an inexpensive way to work out. You can always exercise at home or outside.
- Do you have the lowest cost cellular plan for your needs or are you using extra minutes and texts just because you have them?
- Why pay high nightclub cover charges and overpriced, watered-down drink costs every weekend when you can go out during happy hour when admission is free and drinks are reduced? Think of free or inexpensive ways to get together with friends and meet new people.
What other ways can you save money while you’re in college?