If you do need to take out your loans without a cosigner while in college, chances are the interest rate isn’t the best it can be. Building your credit can take time, but can lead to savings on your student loans if and when you decide to refinance. Unless your interest rate is extremely low on your private loans or if you only have federal student loans, refinancing is a great way to save money by lowering your interest rate and potentially lowering your monthly payment amount.
Shopping around for your student loans is a simple way to not only get the best interest rates on your student loans, but also save significantly when it comes time to pay those loans back. Pro Tip: Local banks and credit unions often offer better rates than national lenders, so don’t be afraid to check your rate with multiple lenders if you do need to take out private student loans.
If you own a car in college and pay for your own insurance, regularly reviewing your car insurance rates can lead to some serious savings. When your car insurance is set to renew at the end of the policy period, shop around and get quotes from multiple insurers to see if you’re getting the best rate possible. Pro Tip: Zebra is a fantastic site that quickly matches you with multiple car insurance companies, providing you with customized quotes to save you money.
If possible, use public transportation if you need to travel off campus. Public transportation can be much cheaper than riding in an Uber or a Lyft, especially if you need to leave campus regularly. The bus or subway systems in most major cities offer discounted passes that will get you to where you need to go without breaking the bank.
Most college campuses are very bike-friendly, which means the areas surrounding campus are often bike-friendly as well. There are a few fantastic local marketplace apps that you can use to quickly locate a high-quality used bike. OfferUp and Letgo are two extremely popular apps that you can use to find a bike to get to where you need to go.
Depending on the kind of student loan that you secure, interest may start accruing from the moment your loan is dispersed. While it’s much more fun to spend your extra money on a night of going out, making small payments toward your loans while in school can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. When your full repayments begin after you graduate, you may have options to adjust your payment schedule if you took out federal loans. Good to Know: Payment options may include income-based repayment plans or extended payment plans to help you manage your student loan payments.
If possible, finishing your degree early can potentially save you thousands of dollars in books, tuition, housing, and other expenses. While finishing early is not a possibility for all of us, it’s a great way to not only save on expenses while in college, but also save in overall student loan costs. If you’re not able to finish early, you should focus on finishing your degree on time. Switching majors late in your college career, failing or dropping classes mid-semester, and not focusing on your academics are just a few of the ways that many college students get off-track. Going to college longer than you need to costs a lot of money, and with so many great tools and resources at your fingertips, you can tap into the support you need to finish on time.
Applying for scholarships as early as possible in your high school career can save you significantly on tuition throughout college. Scholarships are competitive, and if you don’t receive a scholarship through your college directly, it can be even more difficult to obtain scholarship money from outside sources. With so many online databases of scholarships, you should start your scholarship research early in high school to get ahead of the competition.
Your fellow students are another great resource for getting discounted textbooks. We all need cash in college, so offering to buy a textbook off of a student who took the class previously in their college career not only gets you a book for less, but also helps out a fellow student. Pro Tip: Search popular social media sites to see if there are book buying groups set up on your college campus, or browse online marketplaces to see if books are being listed.
Renting books can significantly cut down on the cost of your textbooks. There are tons of places that will allow you to rent textbooks instead of purchasing them, and your campus bookstore may also provide a rental option. When compared to purchasing the book, renting a book costs 50% less on average; just be sure to return your book at the end of the semester or quarter to avoid additional fees and charges.