The decision to go to college is not one to take lightly. It is a huge investment of time and money, and it is important to make sure you are financially prepared for this burden. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prepare and ensure you make the most of your college experience and still keep your bank account intact.
First, you must get your financial aid in order. It is smart to plan ahead and fill out FAFSA forms ahead of time, because government grants and Stafford Student Loans are on a first come, first serve basis. You can also apply to scholarships, since there is a scholarship for practically every program, and even ones that have little to do with academics. A simple Google search will provide hundreds of options for scholarships. Apply to as many as possible.
Next, open a credit card. This may sound counterproductive, since college students want to be saving money, not getting into credit card debt. However, if you open a credit card and use it to pay for a small bill, such as your gas payment, each month, and then pay it off IN ITS ENTIRETY at the end of the month, you will build credit that will carry over into your future. You will be thankful you did this when it comes time to purchase a car, rent an apartment, or buy a home.
Last, open a savings account. Even if you do not have a significant amount of money to put in, try to set aside even just $10 a month. That comes out to $120 a year that you would not have saved otherwise, and you won’t even feel the loss each month.