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Money In the Sofa: Paying for College on a Tight Budget

Updated on April 16, 2017
How to save money for college: every little bit helps
How to save money for college: every little bit helps

3 Ways to Save More Money for College

If you start early, it's possible to save enough money to attend college without strapping yourself financially for life.

All it takes is proper planning, a little hard work, and a lot of determination.

You could make $2800 during the summer at just $7/hr, 40 hours a week.

1. Work During the Summer Break

Working full-time during the summer break could be one of the smartest things you could do when saving money for college. If you have 8-10 weeks to work (assuming you get 2-2.5 months for summer break), and work 40 hours per week at just $7/hour, your gross income for the summer could be between $2240 and $2800. If you make more than $7/hour your income goes much higher.

Great jobs for summer break:

  • Paid internships
  • Summer camp counseling
  • Working at a restaurant
  • Day care / preschool assistance
  • Summer nanny positions

2. Use Interest-Bearing Checking and Savings Accounts

You might not make a whole lot of money using an interest-bearing account, but every little bit helps. Perhaps your financial aid package and scholarships are enough to cover tuition and room and board, but you need a little extra to cover books, transportation, and fees.

Interest-bearing accounts reward you for putting your money away. The key here is: DON'T TOUCH IT. If you are trying to save money for college, you can't afford to spend what you earn. 

Also, make sure your bank has a cash-back system for paying with a Visa or Mastercard Debit Card. If they don't have one, switch banks. Ask your parents to give what they get in cash back and interest to you to use toward college.

Stash It Away

Any and all money you start getting as a junior or senior in high school should go straight into that interest-bearing account mentioned above.

3. Forget Cool Gifts - Ask for Cash

As tempting at the Wii or Playstation might be, if you need a little extra money to use toward college, ask your friends and family to help you out by giving you cash instead of other gifts.

Upon graduation, some parents like to send their kids off to a great vacation. This is very nice! BUT, the money they spend on that vacation can pay for a class or two in the upcoming semester! Think about that. Put your money towards something very important - school.

You may even wish to forgo spring break, if it'll save you some dough. 


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