(This is a guest article by Omar Adams*)
If there’s one thing that most college students are graduating with these days, it’s a mountain of debt. And even though they know this situation is bound to arise when they take out a student loan to cover their tuition costs, they don’t realize that it is compounded several times because of the way they use their credit cards and rack up other unnecessary expenses. It’s not that hard to graduate debt-free or at least with a relatively low amount of debt; the only hitch is that collegians have to plan and execute even before they start their four years on campus. If you’re a high school student hoping to minimize your debt when you graduate from college even as you enjoy most of what college has to offer, here are a few tips that are sure to help:
- Choose your college with care. Remember, a prestigious name is not going to help you when you’re faced with a mountain of debt on graduation. So unless you want to spend the better part of your adult life slogging away to pay your student loans, think carefully before you make the choice. While you don’t have to go to the other extreme and choose a community college, opt for a university that’s close to home or where you have friends you can stay with. This way, you cut back on accommodation costs. If that’s not possible, choose a degree at a college that’s reasonably affordable and which doesn’t demand that you pay through your nose.
- Work while you study. College is not all about fun and games, parties and sororities. You need to adopt a more serious attitude if you want to graduate without a care in the world. When you assume responsibility for your debt right from your first year by getting a job that allows you to pay for your extraneous expenses and also settle some of your student debt, you not only prevent your debt from accumulating, you also reduce the interest on the amount that’s outstanding.
- Use credit cards judiciously. I’m sure every college student has been given this piece of advice; even so, it falls by the wayside more often than not. While I’m not saying you must avoid credit cards altogether, it’s best to use them wisely – charge all your expenses to them if needed, but ensure that you have enough money to cover the entire payment every month on or before the due date. The best way to avoid racking up huge credit card debts is to get a secured card, one where you’ve paid a sum in advance and which is your spending limit. Also, if you have a savings account, tie it up to your credit card and set up an automatic debit facility the day your bill is due. This way, you don’t have to worry about going overboard or racking up a huge interest because you’ve forgotten to pay your bill, and even if you don’t have money to take care of your bill, the amount you paid upfront is enough to take care of it.
*About the author: This guest post is contributed by Omar Adams, he writes on the topic of online accounting degree programs. He welcomes your comments at his email id: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Image Credit: Photograph by upsuportsmouth [via Flickr Creative Commons]