Empty Fridge, Wallet and Gas Tank: Getting Through College When You’re Broke

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 Lance Hand > Junior > English and Theological Studies > Regent University 

 As if studying for exams and writing papers wasn’t enough, you open your fridge and it’s a barren wasteland. Then, you hop in the car to head to the grocery store only to realize that the only thing emptier than your wallet is your gas tank. Few things can be more stressful and overwhelming for a college student than finances. There is no question that a lack of money can present a heavy burden. However, there are a few things that can be done to help lighten the load.

While some college students are fortunate enough to have either received a full-ride or have their parents pay for everything, there are many who are seeking to better their lives through education with little or no money. With each new semester comes the question, “How am I going to pay for this?” Many college students know what it’s like to experience that sinking feeling that comes with receiving a bill for money which just isn’t there. In light of this, it would be easy to seek financial refuge through credit cards and student loans. However, if you’re not careful, what seems to be an easy way out can end up causing more trouble in the long run.

Quentin Ludington, a graduate of South Georgia College, knows all too well the struggles that come with trying to make it through college on your own and with very little money. “If I could go back, I would have never taken out students loans. Just because the money is available doesn’t mean you should take it, there are a lot of grants and scholarship available if you just put in the effort,” says Quentin.

Not everyone feels as though they can make it without getting loans and for many, a scholarship is out of the question. However, there are still a few things that can be done by college students to help make their economic situations a little less burdensome. According to financial expert Dave Ramsey, “Attending an affordable local college to complete your first few years of required classes” is a big way to save money. Although you may have planned to spend all four years at the school of your dreams, it would be much better to spend a couple of years at a cheaper school than to spend four years in a financial nightmare. Also, as much as you would probably love to regularly eat out with friends, sacrifices have to be made. This doesn’t mean that your diet has to consist entirely of ramen noodles. Getting together with a group of friends and having each one bring a dish will not only be fun, but easy on the wallet as well. In addition, websites like frugalvillage.com have numerous easy ways to eat cheap and save money.
Making it through college on a tight budget can be tough. Additionally, there are very few who look forward to graduating college with an overbearing debt. There is no question that learning to do without and live frugally can be difficult. However, the sacrifices will be well worth it when you find yourself in a good place financially at the end of your college journey.

College Magazine Staff

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