Benjamin Franklin once said nothing is certain but death and taxes. We’d like to amend that list by adding a modern certainty: college costs will always go up. But that doesn’t mean getting an education results in going broke. Stay smart, spend less, and start budgeting. Here’s how:
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Money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy you an education. And a house. And a really nice vacation. That’s why we think spending less and saving more throughout college is an integral part of doing life the right way: affordably. However, when high college costs and poor financial planning combine, money becomes a barrier between students and their future–a barrier we’re committed to busting down. Thankfully SimpleTuition can help you:
Qualify for more financial aid
TuitionCoach can help you qualify for thousands of dollars in additional financial aid by coaching you and your family to structure your finances correctly. You already have a need. We’ll teach you how to prove it on paper.
- Typical savings: as much as $3,000 per year
The College Cost Adjuster helps you see what college really costs. You don’t have to compare schools by their sticker price anymore. Instead you can compare up to three schools at once and see what each will cost after financial aid and the cost of student loans. This will help you pick a school you can actually afford.
- Typical savings: as much as $2,000 per year
SimpleTuition’s award-winning student loan comparison tool often saves students like you–and their families–several thousand dollars per year in borrowing costs by displaying the cost differences among private lenders. We reveal the nitty-gritty so you don’t have to sift through the fine print all on your own. SimpleTuition can also help you evaluate the costs and benefits of consolidating your student debt, saving you even more.
- Typical savings: as much as $5,000 per year (or more)
Our Textbook Comparison Center lets you compare the cost of new, used, or electronic copies of books, helping you find prices you can afford. We’ll even search rental copies. There’s millions of books available and you could save up to 90% on each of them. The best part? There’s no longer a need to leave your campus bookstore feeling robbed. Then at the end of the semester use our service to sell your books and get some of that money back.
- Typical savings: as much as $500 per year
- For all you graduating seniors out there, or post-grads who still have mountains of student check, check out PayBackSmarter, a free-to-use website that helps you harness the power of interest to pay your loans back faster. Learn about payment plans, consolidation, and the power of extra payments to get out of debt and on with life.
- If you’re planning to take the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT, and want help studying, check out our Test Prep Comparison Center. We compare 20,000+ online and in-person test prep courses then discount those courses up to 25%. You can finally improve your scores affordably.
- SmarterBank is an online checking account that comes with all the free bells and whistles you’ve come to expect. But what makes us different is our unique SmarterBucks rewards program, which earns you rewards on the money you’re already spending–and that money is used to make extra payments on your student loans.
These are estimates. We are confident in our ability to help you save at these levels, but individual experiences will vary. And if a penny saved is a penny earned, what does that mean about the value of a dollar? Simple. Every one you don’t have to borrow is one you don’t have to pay back later with interest.
While most scholarships are based on academic merit and well-written personal statements, some reward students for more…non-traditional qualities or skills. Like being able to design a tuxedo out of duct tape. Check out that and more crazy scholarships below:
- The Duck Tape® Stuck at Prom Contest: Their website describes this contest plainly enough: “The Stuck at Prom® Scholarship Contest challenges students to create and accessorize their prom outfits with duct tape, then wear them to prom for a chance to win scholarship cash prizes.” At least you won’t have to wear a proper tuxedo or spend hundreds of dollars on a dress you’ll only wear once.
- The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest: High School seniors may compete for college scholarships totaling $4,250. What do they have to do? You guessed it: impersonate a duck.
- Klingon Language Institute: The Kor Memorial Scholarship: According to their website: “The purpose of the Kor Memorial Scholarship is to recognize and encourage scholarship in fields of language study. Familiarity with Klingon or other constructed languages is not required, however creative and innovative applicants are preferred.” You’ll probably have better luck if you’re a Star Trek fan, too.
- Tall Clubs International Scholarship for Tall People: While being tall can make it uncomfortable to sit in economy class on crowded airplanes, it will also help you qualify for a $1000 scholarship. Women who are 5’10” or taller, and men who are at least 6’2″, and are both under 21 and attending their first year of college can apply.
- Collegiate Inventors Competition: Invent something cool? Win up to $25,000 for college. This isn’t about grades. It’s about turning good ideas into brilliant products.
It’s early August and, even though the beach isn’t ready to let you go just yet, stores have started their back-to-school sales. In order to snag the best deals, and make sure you get everything you need, start shopping early and follow these tips for smart spending:
- Make a list before you hit the stores. No matter how strong your willpower, it’s easy to get drawn into impulsive buys. Writing out everything you need first will help you cut back on unnecessary spending.
- Get in touch with your roommate. No one needs two refrigerators or an extra microwave. Shoot your roommate a text or Facebook message so you can establish who’s bringing what.
- Take taxes into account. Tax rates range depending on the city. If you’re traveling across the country for college, research if taxes are higher at school than at home and plan your shopping trip accordingly.
- Know your budget. And stick to it! No matter how good you look with that new backpack, over-spending is an ugly habit and a dangerous way to start the semester.
- Use your student loans to pay for tuition first. If you don’t pay your tuition bill, you won’t have any classes to back-to-school shop for. And, while student loans can help cover expenses like textbooks, and even a laptop, they’re not really meant for that new Marc Jacobs tote.
Stick to these tips and you’ll look as stylish as you are spending-savvy.
Check out this infographic from Socrato on back-to-school shopping: