$uccess in $ixteen

- A freshman's guide to success & being ahead financially -

#16 ⇒ Save on Snacks

Your meal plan is the most important, however you can spend a lot of money foolishly on buying snacks. The snacks in vending machines may seem like the best and only choice when you are starving, however, the items they offer are much more expensive than what you can get in a grocery store. Most items actually cost less when you buy a large box of them than if you buy one in a vending machine. You can also buy in quantity when items are on sale. This way, you can prevent these types of situations because you will have your own food stocked up in your room. So don't go for the impulse items found in vending machines, instead wait and get some groceries.

#15 ⇒ Choose a Meal Plan that Works for You

This comes down to how hungry you usually are and you'll want to chose the plan that is best for you. If you are someone who is hungry all of the time, then an unlimited plan will be best for you. However, maybe you chose the unlimited plan because you want to get your money's worth in food, even though you would be okay with less. If you did get the limited plan but are hungry most of the time, then you might want to think about moving to an unlimited plan. Whatever your choice, you want to make sure you use it. You have already paid for this food! Why spend more money elsewhere to eat?
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#14 ⇒ Use the Dorm or Campus Computers instead of Buying Your Own

Yes, of course you are going to need a computer in college. However, unless you already have your own, why pay extra to get one when your dorm already has one that you can use for free? If you are thinking about bringing your own computer, keep these points in mind: Was access to a drop-in computer lab included in your tuition fee or are you paying extra each time you use the lab? Are the computers your college supplies include upgrades you cannot afford for yourself? How often will you be using your computer at a time; if each time you only spend a few minutes, is it worth paying extra to use your own computer? How close are the computer labs, within walking distance or more than a few miles away so you need to drive? And finally, will the computer labs even be available during your preferred study periods? Think about these things before you make any final decisions. Some colleges are an exception to this tip because they require you to have your own computer, but do research to find that out so you can save before it is too late.

#13 ⇒ Talk to Your Roommates about Money Issues

One of the most exciting, yet nerve-racking, things about going to college is getting a roommate. Having a roommate can also be very beneficial to the both of you. Between the two of you, you can split the costs of many things such as appliances, groceries, and possibly some bills. However, to make this work and to make a much better environment, form a relationship with them. By getting to know them, it not only shows them you are willing to be friends and make an effort, but you can find out whether or not they are the type of person who pays their bills on time, or if they take care of their property (or even yours). To make this easier and to avoid problems up the road, sit down with your roommate and together set some ground-rules. Then each of you can respect the others needs.

#12 ⇒ Pay the Rent on Time

Here's an easy one that a lot of apartment owners tend not to do. Pay the rent on time! Paying rent on time actually helps build good credit and shows the landlord you are responsible. The landlord knowing you are responsible will benefit you in situations where something unexpected happens causing the rent to be late. Even so, if this does happen, make sure to call your landlord immediately. Give him a definite plan of when you will pay the rest to show you are reliable. Some apartments have a late fee when it comes to rent. If this happens, expect to pay it. If you don't have enough money to, ask the landlord if there are any chores (or something of that matter) which you can to do to pay for part of it.

#11 ⇒ Watch out for Scholarship Scams

Scholarships are great because they save lots of money, however if you get scammed, they can end up costing you. Take this advice in order to make sure you are getting the real deal:
  • Never pay a fee for scholarship money (it just doesn't make sense!)
  • Don't fall for the guarantees that "you will only find this information here!" (They forgot about Google)
  • Fees for real scholarships do not exist and application information is available to everyone (either of these is an immediate red flag that you should be wary about)

#10 ⇒ Separate Needs from Wants

Okay, so you know that food is obviously a need, while a cappuccino from Starbucks is just a want. Yet, have a late night and suddenly you need that cappuccino to get you through the day. The real need here is having something to get you going. What you need here is just some simple coffee or tea brewed from your dorm; Starbucks is just a tempting want. You may need a phone so you can contact people and for emergencies, but do you need the newest version of the iPhone? Maybe some people do to stay organized but for most this is just another want. When it comes to wants and needs be careful because while things you want may seem to be an absolute need at that moment, they will end up costing you more money than you need to spend.
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#9 ⇒ Look for a Job on Campus

On-campus jobs are beneficial, more so than off-campus jobs. Having a job on the campus prevents you from spending extra time or money in the commute to work. They also have very flexible hours that will adapt to students' schedules. To find out about available employment options on-campus, visit your school's employment office and ask about openings. Your professors may also know about openings in their departments so it is a good idea to ask them as well.

#8 ⇒ Keep Track of Student Account

Some colleges may not offer student accounts. The ones that do offer them as a special spending account for students to use. When you put a certain amount of money

into the account, you receive a card to use to make purchases for food, services, and other items around campus. These accounts are nice but it is easy to forget how much you have been spending and how much you have left. One idea, that is good to keep in mind is to have something that you use to write down the cost of everything you buy with the account so you know immediately and don't lose track of finances.

#7 ⇒ Keep Looking for Financial Aid

Did you know that financial aid is not just for freshmen? That's right! Each year in college you have the ability to apply for financial aid, so stay on top of it! Know what you need to do to keep the aid you already have, then you can move on to the next steps. A good idea is to ask about scholarships available to students in your major. Next, apply for every type of aid you may qualify for, despite the amount. Aid is aid and no matter how much, it will help. Mark the deadlines and set reminders. You can have everything on every form filled out but it won't matter if you miss the deadline so make sure you known when that is. Finally, just talk to your financial aid officer for help. That's what they are there for so you might as well take advantage of that resource.

#6 ⇒ Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Being a student has its perks, believe it or not. There are many discounts that are provided and all that is required to claim these discounts are your student idea and the knowledge of these price-cuts. So, do your homework. Ask your insurance company what the policy is for students with good grades or attending a school more than 250 miles away and plan to leave their car at home. See if student checking costs less at your bank. Another tip is to ask about student discounts and make reservations far enough in advance to qualify for lower air fares if flying home. It is also smart if you buy used textbooks from the college bookstores and get free or low-cost health-care at campus health centers

#5 ⇒ Understand Your Financial Aid

Financial aid can be confusing and to make it easier, you will want to know these things. Know the types of financial aid offered, whether you need to repay it, its a job, or its free money like a grant or scholarship. Read what the requirements and obligations are of each one so you know if you are even eligible. Learning about the aid you are receiving will help you meet the requirements need to qualify for them, continue receiving financial aid, and so you know how much additional money you need to pay for your education.

#4 ⇒ Turn a Hobby or Skill into a Money-Making Endeavor

Having a job and making money doesn't always mean working for someone else. By working for yourself you can easily balance school, work, and free-time. Whether it be baby-sitting, dog-walking, tutoring, or selling handmade goods, you can be putting your talents to good use and become a young businessman/woman.

#3 ⇒ Compare the Cost of an Apartment with the Cost of a Dorm Room

Living off-campus may seem cheaper, however, there are lots of expenses that go with apartment-living that should be thought about before moving. To decide what the better option is, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each, and especially focus of the costs of basic accommodations and needs at each. It may seem less expensive at first, but off-campus housing costs can add up fast, so know what the better deal is before this happens.
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#2 ⇒ Understand Your Student Loan Obligation

Before accepting any loans, make sure you know what they are about. Know what you will have to repay and when. Also, know what the interest rates are for each and how the type of loan affects it. If possible, it is best to get a loan with a very low interest rate and one where you don't have to start paying it off until after you graduate. Know that if you don't repay the loans, it will hurt your credit record, and a bad credit record can make it almost impossible to take out loans in the future for other things. Understanding your loans can make things a lot easier down the road for you.

#1 ⇒ Use Loans as a Last Resort

Loans are short-term help. They help pay tuition however take years to pay off and can even lead to debt. In order to avoid this debt, keep looking for grants and different scholarships. This way, you will have "free money" to help pay back loans and other debt. Summer jobs are also a great source of revenue and can really help pay college expenses. If you do however end up taking out a student loan, make sure you only use it to pay for college expenses. These types of loans aren't made to pay for vacations or credit cards, so don't use them in those ways. Be smart with loans and you'll finish college with little to no debt.

Now, good luck and have fun!