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20 Ways Not to Go Broke While Still in College

20 Ways Not to Go Broke While Still in College

If you’re about to head off to high education, or you’re already neck-deep in it and trying to figure out how to avoid going broke, check out these 20 methods that will keep some scratch in your pockets.

1. Employment: Maintain a real or digitally-based job.

Even part-time is better than being broke. If you can, try and secure a job working on-campus before you show up freshmen year, and then do whatever it takes to keep that job throughout college. Those 4 years of employment history will keep some money coming in (that isn’t a loan), and look fabulous on your post-college resume.

2. Budget: Huge slice of life here.

If you don’t learn how to budget money before you get out of college, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s simple. Just figure out exactly how much money is coming in and going out (bills & living expenses or needs). Then, use the wonders of budgeting to steer clear of going broke.

3. Avoid dating.

At the end of the day chasing down lovers is not only time consuming, it costs a fair amount of money. It’s so easy to spend money in an effort to increase your chances, right? Make education and managing your money your top priorities first.

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4. Invest: Invest some money the day before you head off to college.

Put it in something you can’t touch until after your expected graduation date. That way, you’ll earn a little passive income, and no matter how much is in your wallet, that investment means you’re technically not broke.

5. Start a web company.

Get some friends together, combine your skills, buddy up with some computer science kids and start a web company that offers any kind of simple web-based service or product. Create a lean tech-savvy start-up from your dorm rooms!

6. Save: Go into “save money” mode.

Since you’ve decided to master budgeting, dedicate yourself to saving at least 20% of your monthly income. It could either go into a “pay off loans” investment or account, or into a savings account so you have cash if you need it for emergencies or asset purchases.

7. Spend Wisely: You need to protect your money.

Learn that as soon as possible. The sooner you learn this life principle the less time you’ll have to spend wallowing in debt or being broke. See the clear difference between a want and a need. Be aware of why you are tempted to spend money. Don’t spend tons of money one tiny superficial and pointless purchase at a time.

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8. Reduce Loan Principles: Be smart about it.

If you’re taking on loans, read the fine print. Know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and take advantage of all realistic options available to you while in school to reduce your principle. When you’re not paying off the principle, is interest accumulating. If so, this is eating away at your monthly income even though it doesn’t seem like it.

9. Don’t use debit or credit.

There are two schools of thought here. One preaches that college students should use debit and build credit (there are banking institutions on many college campuses now). The other says it’s a bad idea. Debit cards make it too easy to spend money and credit can be vicious! Debit is easy to avoid, and in reality the credit needs for a college student should be almost non-existent.

10. Avoid fees.

Fees are literally everywhere you turn, and if you don’t know about them, you end up paying them. Many can be avoided by simply knowing of their existence. Start making it a habit to be fee-aware and avoid the unnecessary ones. Over 4 years, all these tiny little fees all over the place can really add up.

11. Grow food.

If you’re one of those students that rents a house and you’ve got some yard real estate, grow food! Seeds are cheap, gardening is easy, so it’s basically free food.

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12. Get free stuff.

Speaking of free, get all the free stuff you can and in college–there’s lots of it.

13. Get discounts.

: Students also get tons of discounts of tons of things, but you need to know of their existence and then take advantage of them. Seek them out. Become a bargain shopper in college!

14. Apply for free money.

Apply for free student money–for books, for classes, for tuition, whatever. You would be shocked to see how much money is given away to college kids every year. The trick is finding out about them and then taking the time to apply. Every little bit helps.

15. Hang with other broke people.

If you want to save money and live a lean lifestyle, stick with the like-minded.

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16. Rely on family & friends.

If you are lucky enough to have family and friends to rely on, then do so. Everyone knows you’re trying to better yourself and get ahead in life, so when they offer help, take it.

17. Barter

When you’re in college it’s a great time to start learning how to leverage what you have. When an opportunity to barter arises, capitalize on it.

18. Mobile Usage

Know how much your smartphone and mobile habits are costing you and keep them under wraps!

19. Pay bills on time.

Pay your bills on time, because it can lead to reduced rates, good payment history, better credit and all else.

20. Use the Internet

Set up a profile on one of the major freelancing websites. Become an affiliate blogger while in college. There are countless ways to make money online in your spare time!

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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