Going back to school can be costly, but there are simple ways you can save money along the way.
If you’re going back to college as an adult you likely have been working longer than the average undergraduate. However, while you probably have some money saved up, you could also have more financial obligations, like bills, a mortgage, and family to provide for.
With the added cost of college, if adult learners don’t make smart decisions over the course of their studies, they could end up depleting their bank account. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure this does not happen. Here are a few tips adult learners can consider to maintain their financial literacy while they build their academic skills.
Create a Budget
Avoid spending all of your money in your first semester back at school by making—and sticking to—a detailed budget. This will allow you to keep track of your monthly expenses so you know how much money you’ll need every month.
“A budget is a simplistic way of tracking what expenses you have, or money that goes out, versus financial resources [such as] allowance, employment, grants, and scholarships,” Mary Hagerty Ehrsam of Operation Hope told The Denver Post. “Get into the habit of writing down all of your expenses, no matter how small they are.”
Avoid Emotional Spending
College courses are sure to be challenging, whether they focus on the arts or technology, and there may be times when adult learners feel stressed out. If this occurs, it’s important to avoid spending money just to feel better. While you might feel temporary relief, whatever happiness you feel will be just that—temporary. What you’ll be left with is even more anxiety—and bigger bills—in the aftermath.
Take Advantage of Your Student ID
Individuals who enroll at colleges and universities are typically issued a student ID card. For those who are looking to save money, this piece of plastic can come in very handy.
The Huffington Post states that most businesses around a school’s campus offer 5-10% discounts for student ID holders. Whether you’re going to the movies or out to eat, don’t forget to flash that student ID.
You can also look online for discounts. For example, Amazon Prime offers a special rate to users with an .edu email address, which gets you access to two-day shipping, as well as discounted Amazon Prime streaming and Spotify access.
Stay on the Hunt for the Best Deals
College expenses can pile up, but they do not have to reach the heights they tend to. Textbooks, for example, can cost a lot more at a school’s bookstore than they do through online retailers, such as Amazon.com or Chegg. NBC News also recommends students take a second look at their phone plan, as they may be eligible for a better deal thanks to their status as a degree seeker.
Stay focused on your finances as you pursue your studies. Explore degree and certificate programs near you.