By: Brittney Frost
It is finally here. One of the most exciting times of the year for students has arrived: SUMMER! However, this excitement is more than just enjoyable weather. For current college students, it means either having a well-deserved break before the fall semester starts again or diving into more classes. No matter which situation pertains to you or your family, this season can be a transition of locations, housing, classes, employment, and life in general. As with any transition, it is important to make a financial plan so that you can save and make the most of your money! Use the helpful tips below to financially prepare for the changes that summer may bring for students:
- Weigh the academic and financial benefits of summer classes. Speak with an advisor in the Academic Office on campus to see if summer classes benefit your overall academic plan for graduation. If so, visit the Financial Aid Office to learn about your options and eligibility for scholarships or student loans. Researching all options will help you better manage your money.
- Create a summer budget. Budgeting will help you save money in any situation. Make sure to factor in your income, student loan amount (or lack thereof) as well as your Cost of Attendance, which includes textbooks, housing, transportation, and food. If your expenses exceed your income, then adjust your budget by looking for an extra summer job or cheaper housing. For help creating a budget, contact Christian Credit Counselors at 1-800-557-1985 or visit christiancreditcounselors.org for budgeting resources.
- Look for summer jobs. Search employment websites for summer jobs at local businesses, summer schools, tutoring centers, etc. Explore options of working on campus as part of the Federal Work Study Program (visit your campus’ Financial Aid Office or studentaid.ed.gov for more details).
- Consider living at home. If your family situation and home location permits you to live with your parents, this may help reduce your summer cost of living and could even help you save money for the fall semester so less student loan is needed. Moreover, I’m sure dad will love having you around for Father’s Day when June 19th rolls around! In fact, according to Richard Fry’s article for Pew Research Center, in 2014 living with a parent was the most common living arrangement for young adults ages 18 to 34 for the first time in more than 130 years due to postponement of marriage, unemployment, and falling wages. (Read full article here.)
- Use student loan money wisely. Your student loans are meant to be used for costs relating to your education (tuition fees, books, supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses). According to a poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys on behalf of Student Loan Hero, approximately 1 in 5 American students graduating this year who have debt said they used their student loans to pay for frivolous things such as vacations, eating out, and entertainment. Don’t let this be you. Stick to the necessities! (Read full article here.)
No matter where your educational plan takes you this summer, research your options, make a budget, and use these resources to help you financially conquer the transition!