There is a lot to plan for financially when it comes to college, from the cost of tuition to the cost of course materials. When you’re getting ready to go from high school graduate to college freshman, it’s important to think about the money you’ll need. The summer before college gives you plenty of time to get ready for the next part of your life, but it’s also a great time to get your finances in order.
As your first semester’s summer approaches, you’ll want to:
When they start college, a lot of students go through big changes. On top of the cost of college, you may also have living costs, whether you live alone or with a roommate. You’ll need to buy things to set up your new place, and you’ll also need to set aside money for bills. Aside from fixed bills, there are also costs that change from month to month, like the cost of food. It’s easy to underestimate how much you’ll spend each month, so it’s never too early to make a budget to make sure you won’t spend more than you can afford.
Think about how much you’ll be spending and how much you’ll be getting, whether it’s from financial aid, scholarships, loans, a job, or a combination of all of these. Think about what you can do less of or stop doing altogether. Think outside the box about how you can save money on the things you need. For example, you can save money on food by not ordering takeout, eating out, or getting fast food. Instead, cook all your meals if you’ll have access to a kitchen. You can save even more money on groceries by using coupons and watching for sales.
You’ll be one step ahead if you make a budget before school starts in the fall.
Get a summer job
It can be tempting to take it easy during the summer before you start college. Consider getting a summer job to make the most of your time. Even if you can pay for your tuition right away, it’s important to plan ahead. By working during this time, you can save up money for any unexpected costs that may come up. As a student, you can make up to $6,600 a year without it affecting your financial aid. You might not have time to work once you start school, so use the summer to your advantage.
Start building up your credit.
A lot of young adults who just finished high school haven’t built up a credit history yet. Before you get too busy with school, think about what you need to do to start building your credit. Start slowly. You can build credit by getting a credit card with your parents that has a low credit limit and paying off the whole balance every month.
In the future, you will need good credit if you want to get a car loan, mortgage, etc. Some companies may even check your credit when you apply, so it’s important not to let bad credit (or no credit) keep you from getting your dream job.
Make a plan for paying for college.
The summer before your first semester is a good time to think about your college budget and figure out how you’ll pay for tuition and other costs. Unless you’ve already paid for college or won a full-ride scholarship, you need to have a long-term plan in place.
If you haven’t already, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before school starts. Your FAFSA is a great place to start figuring out how you’ll pay for college tuition and other costs. You might get money to help pay for some or all of your college expenses. You may also be able to get federal student loans, which can be very helpful, but you should think about how you will pay them back in the long run.
Apply for free money
When it comes to scholarships, you should keep looking for them the whole time you’re in college. Make a list of scholarship sources during the summer before your first semester. This can include local businesses, websites, and so on. You can narrow down this list more to find scholarships that focus on specific things, like fields of study. Your school is a great place to start, and the Internet has a lot of great resources that can help you find scholarships. Having this list on hand will help you stay organized and save you time when looking for scholarships and filling out applications.
Private student loans can fill in any gaps.
Federal student loans have limits on how much you can borrow, so it’s possible that the amount you got won’t cover all of your college costs. Getting a private student loan may help you pay for any other costs, depending on your situation.