So after years of hearing people SCARE me by saying the exact same thing in this HILARIOUS video, I decided to get off my butt and push through the financial pain and suffering of attending post-secondary school. I think it's worth sharing HOW TO DO post-secondary education CHEAP and satisfactorily.
This post is going to tell you how you can achieve your academic goals without falling victim to everything "nigahiga" was talking about in his video.
We've learn ways to MAKE and get FREE money towards funding your education in a previous post. Now it's time to learn where and how to SAVE money towards funding your education. I hope to put all this stuff in picture format with dollar figures attached so that you can visualize just how serious a plan this can be to completing your education...independent and free of huge loans.
- Plan Your Food and Nutrition Well: You might be wondering what has food got to do with education. Virginia Wolf once said: "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. When you have all energy necessary to plan and execute your education plan, you will be successful. The way to get energy is a good diet routine. Don’t forget how much cheaper it is to eat at home. I post tons of food recipes that you can easily make, store and consume on my recipe and food & drinks page. Some of them were taking right out of my 'starving student days'. Food is one of those sources. Money you can spend on your education can come from all sources.
- Buy used or discount: When I think back to my student life, I remember a phrase that got me through my early childhood: waste not want not. Many homes have tons of things thrown away on a daily basis and many of these items end up in second used stores. Most of the items are in perfectly usable condition. Some items picked up at second hand stores or special events like a swap soiree can be as good as new. Furniture, home décor, electronics, books, bags, coats and many more quality durable items can be bought at a steal. Sometimes, you can pick up priced antiques as well. Dollar bargain shops are also another place to pick up utensils for the home at good price. Get a list of the best bargain shops and cruise the aisles for deals. Make use of special instore discounts on a regular items. Use store coupons for groceries. Buy eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist etc… and other online discount. You can get designer items at discount prices if you keep your eyes open to these sources. Trust me, you can save a ton of money that you can use towards tuition and textbook.
- Don't use credit cards to finance college: Nothing causes debt to grow than amassing debt to fund education. When you use your credit card to finance your education, the interest on the debt is the biggest financial trap students fall into. Withdrawing cash on your credit card cost you 24 cents on each dollar you withdraw. If you take out $1,000 for yourself the credit card companies will collect back from you $1,240. That is $240 you’ve just given away for no good reason. Some students will make the excuse that they are using it to pay for a course. Think of it this way: it will cost you $240 because you didn't want to wait one semester to work and save enough to pay for that course yourself! This brings me to the next point.
- Don't rush your studies: Part-time studies can give you the down time you need to plan and properly execute your academic goals. Normal undergrad university is four years in length and unless you have parents that are Kings and Princes in rich oil producing countries that will send you loads of cash for your studies, most of us have to either take out student loans (which is ok too), pay using your credit card or work to pay for our education. Given the interest rates on student loans and credit cards, if you can spread out your studies over 6 years, you might be able to work to pay for a significant portion of your tuition yourself. Who says you must finish your undergrad in four years? Could part-time studies work for you? There are still many successful doctors, lawyers, dentist...etc. who studied part-time and are making just as much money (if not more) as their school mates. The advantage of doing this is that you might graduate with more applied experience (which is likely more valuable to prospective employers) and you have less debt.
- Take advance courses while in High school: Some high school offer courses where you can split your time between class and work. These work experience can often times lead to certificates, diploma quicker than the traditional route. Being able to obtain certified academic document faster makes your studies cheaper and more affordable.
- Attend Community College...first: This is my favourite advice. College education cost less than university education. As far as I am concerned, the education you gain from community college is just as good as what you gain from any university - for most programs. I have always maintained that I learned more in college than I did in university where I read a lot more (go figure). Part of the reason why university costs a lot is because some students want to switch to another field of study. And this requires a longer stay in university that will cost more money. If you are unsure what you want to study, starting out in college is a cheaper way to find out that you are in the wrong program.
- Have you heard of competency-based education? : Competency-based learning allows students to take advantage of their experience and prior learning so that they can move accelerate their studies. The benefit of this is that they can move quickly or through material they already know and focus their time on what they still need to learn. Personally, I find community colleges like Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology has more flexibility with this type of arrangement for some programs. (Yet another reason you should consider doing college first.) You can save course and text book fee plus you may graduate sooner. The time you spare not sitting in a useless course that you have already mastered can give you extra time to do part-time work so that you can pay for parts of your tuition yourself. Little drops of water makes a mighty ocean.
Network. Network. Network: It’s not what you know but who you know. To get a good paying part-time job you need to know where they are. It is cheaper to get referred than to go out there seeking endlessly for it yourself. When you save money you keep money. Having a strong network of all people with various experience, skills and knowledge can shorten the time you spend pursuing your own leads. Time is money. Do you know how to network? Do you have a LinkedIn, account? Try signing up at Talentegg to get access to employers hiring interns.
Or you could take advantage of government resources that are available to train people for technical skills.
In conclusion, most people who attend post-secondary schools come from average income earning household. The money for college and university is a sacrifice that can comes with some pain - not debilitating financial woes. Although it is very easy to adopt the defeating attitude that Nigahiga talks about in his video, don't forget, the ideas behind most of the conveniences we enjoy today came from people who attended post secondary institution. Little drops of water makes a mighty ocean. Make money. Save money. Take your time to finish your education. You will be less stressed and your pocket will thank you for it.
Do not despair, I am living proof that, post-secondary school is doable in a cheap way, you just have to think outside the box.