Tag Archives | saving money

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Being a college student nowadays can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to assume the burden of the ever-rising cost of your tuition, but you also have to find a living space that is preferably nicer than a cardboard box. Don’t worry – you are not alone. It’s not easy to learn and study if you are constantly worried about being buried in debt by graduation. While it is rare to eliminate student debt entirely, there are many practical ways for you to cut costs:

Become an RA
In exchange for monitoring the halls, manning the check-in desk, and organizing floor meetings and events, colleges provide RAs with room and board. That’s $8K – $10K on average that can be subtracted from your annual bill. Surprisingly, a lot of people dismiss this option because they are afraid that their peers will view them as “cops.” This is only true if you let it be true. In a way, being an RA is like being a supervisor: if you are cocky and power-drunk without being fair or personable, nobody will like or respect you; but if you always look for the humanity in others, people will see that you are genuine.

Use Budget-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Every home should have a vacuum, a mop, some dish detergent, a bottle of Windex, and a few white hand towels. If you opt for the store-brand versions of these essentials, you can easily stock up for next to nothing. It’s also worth noting that you can buy a decent vacuum cleaner for under $100. Remember: cleanliness helps to reduce stress, so keep it clean while you pursue your dreams.

Get a Part-Time Internship
When you are strapped for cash, it is tempting to go for a job that “anyone can get.” But college is all about experimenting: instead of going for the same jobs as anyone else, think about the subjects that interest you, and look for a paid internship in that field. For example, if you like psychology, try reaching out to local clinics. If you don’t have a car, consider doing some part-time freelancing online. Most people don’t know what they want to do for a living until long after they graduate. By pursuing internships while you are still in school, you will learn what you like and what you don’t like. Ultimately, these types of experiences will help you develop end goals that you can tailor your education around.

Buy Used Gear
College textbooks are ridiculously overpriced. Few people have need for them when the class is over, and yet year after year, a new version is churned out – complete with negligible changes. Instead of buying new from the school bookstore, look for used versions online. Similarly, if you are living off-campus, browse thrift stores for used furniture.

Shack Up With Your Friends
It’s no secret that rent is cheaper with roommates, but have you thought about sharing your room, too? A lot of landlords offer attractive rates to students who are willing to put two beds in each room. While you may think that you need your own room, remember that it won’t be forever, and if you don’t have to shell out much dough for rent each month, you can use the excess to pay for groceries or a night out with your friends.

This article was contributed by guest author Sammy Dolan.

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Being a student is one of those times in your life where you’re relatively stress-free and having lots of fun, being social and meeting new people almost every day. Along with securing good grades, many students also want to be fashionable every day as it gives them a great confidence boost.

Being a student also entails taking part in many co-curricular activities which often require you to be well-dressed to represent your class, club or college. Then there are social events and parties happening almost every week which many students love to attend.

However, being broke has to be the most common problem faced by students who often struggle even with their daily expenses. So how are they to find a way to be fashionable? It’s very possible – it just requires thinking, shopping and dressing smart.

1. Get simpler stand-alone pieces in good quality. A classic, good quality piece of clothing not only looks great but it also lasts really long, making it a great investment. Instead of a cheap pair of jeans, which wear out in a season, a heftier investment up front on great quality denim is the smarter thing to do.

Just like great denims, a simple cut leather jacket, a classic well fitted dress or two, and some good quality basic tees, are not only stylish but also long lasting. They can all be mixed and matched to create many different looks.

2. Take trips to the thrift shop. Thrift shops are not just a broke person’s best friend, they are also a second home to many fashionistas and fashion bloggers. Thrift shops are treasure boxes which contain many unexpected gems that can give anyone a serious fashion overhaul without dishing out much. They’re not just great places to hunt for all your statement pieces like jewelry, scarfs, or fun and functional tote bags, but also to supplement unique quirky styles and eclectic fashion.

3. Share and swap. College is the perfect time to share clothes with friends and basically double or triple your outfit range. Not only does it create bonds of friendship and support, but also keeps you trendy throughout the year! Being in college makes it quite easy to organize a clothes swap event, so call all your friends and their friends and make this a semester thing.

4. Sell. You can sell old clothes at consignment shops and use the money or the shop credit you receive to update your wardrobe. Selling online is a feasible option for broke students, as it doesn’t require anything more than registering with a website or installing an app on your phone. It would help here if you had high-quality pieces which you have grown tired of, but are still in good condition. It could be the fancy dress that all your friends have seen or a classic bag which you replace for a newer style. Whatever it is, the online world will take it!

5. Use student discounts. Student discounts are a cool way to buy the fashion items that you need to put your wardrobe on point. All big and small brands like Asos, Banana Republic, Kate Spade, Steve Madden and even Top Shop offer students discounts which can help you stay cool and chic on a budget.

Other than making use of these tips, students can also subscribe to all those annoying emails that fashion stores want to send to you – those emails have all the discount offers and promo codes that you need. As long as you shop for a purpose and not for a temporary high, your money is not wasted. Don’t spend often and forget, instead, save up, splurge and then use.

These tips can be applied to any college student at any time as they will help you keep ahead of your fashion mistakes and within budget when the cash is low.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachael Everly.

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Going to college can be one of the best investments that you make in your future. However, that doesn’t mean you want to spend more than you can afford today. What are some easy and effective ways to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of your education?

Live At Home Instead Of At School
While it may be fun and exciting to live on campus and be free of your parents’ rules, it may be best to live at home if you are looking to save money. In many cases, you have to buy a meal plan and pay other fees in addition to the cost of actually living in a dorm. Therefore, you may be spending thousands of dollars per semester on things that you don’t need or don’t actually use.

Assuming that you live close enough to school to commute from home, there is no reason why you can’t still be active in campus life. It shouldn’t be too hard to take part in clubs, go to sporting events or attend parties with your friends who still live in the dorms.

Have Electronics Repaired Instead Of Buying New Equipment
If your laptop breaks or your tablet stops working, it may be worthwhile to have it looked at by a professional like those at Contec Direct. Instead of paying $1,000 for a new computer or tablet, you could have existing problems fixed for $100 or so. To keep repair costs down in the future, you may want to buy a service plan if one is offered by a local repair shop.

Look For Grants, Scholarships Or Work-Study Opportunities
A grant or scholarship goes directly toward paying the cost of your college education, and you don’t have to pay the money back at any point in the future. Work-study programs allow you to work 10-20 hours a week in a research lab, computer lab or library in exchange for financial aid. Working as an RA in the dorms or elsewhere on campus may entitle you to free room and board for as long as you keep that role.

It is difficult to escape the cost of college tuition. Unless you are an athlete or have been saving your entire life, it is likely that you will have some debt when you graduate. However, good planning today can help you keep costs down in an effort to make your education as affordable as possible today and in the long run.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Sturgis.

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We all remember when we were children, and how exciting it was to find a quarter on the sidewalk, a monetary gift from the tooth fairy, or just pick up a few extra dollars doing chores. But how many of us are still paying off student loans, and wish we could have started saving for higher education back in the day when quarters and wrinkled dollar bills seemed like big money? How can students learn to save while in high school and when applying to college afterward?

Start Young
Parents should teach children to save money for their future. However, parents can only do so much – the individual must learn how to do this for themselves. One way to make this more accessible is to turn saving money into a game. Now that you’re older, challenge yourself to set aside some amount of money — spare change or money from working part time in high school and before college. Use a ledger to help keep track of your funds. Having a written record of your savings helps put it all into perspective when it’s right in front of you. Also, taking the time to write down deposits into your savings account will help you have a greater appreciation for your money and what you’re saving for.

Dreams and Education
What do you want to do? Become a veterinarian? Game designer? Become a mechanic or musician? Browse college and technical school websites to investigate different programs and classes that are offered by schools you’re interested in attending. This will help you see how your education will help you reach those goals — and just how much that education will cost. This will help put it all into perspective and connect the process of saving and applying to schools that you’re interested in attending.

Advanced Degree, More Saving
According to FinAid.org, if parents begin saving in a fund that gives at least 5% interest, over 17 years they can accrue almost $35,000 — nearly enough for the average MBA — just by putting aside $25 a week from birth. Whether you plan to get an online master’s degree in public administration or an MFA from a top liberal arts university, saving for an advanced degree such as a master’s takes particularly careful planning. If you’re old enough to know if you want to pursue a master’s degree, and old enough to get an after-school job, you’re old enough to help contribute to those savings your parents have started for you.

Don’t Count on Financial Aid
Even if a student is eligible for financial aid, they could be picked for verification or experience some other delay in receiving their award. Thousands of students every year find themselves having to pay out of pocket to secure their classes until their financial aid comes through. As you get older, understand that it is important to not only complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), but to have funds to pay for your tuition just in case financial aid is delayed or denied.

Students can help themselves learn the principles of going without to be able to save for their future to make it that much brighter and more accessible.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.

Image by Pictures of Money, Flickr

Image by Pictures of Money, Flickr

For those who want to further their education and establish their career, attending college is an important step to take after high school graduation. For many people, it can be challenging to save while on a tight budget, but here are five of the best ways to do so:

Cut Coupons

Not only is it important to avoid eating out to save money, but it’s also important to cut coupons to reduce your grocery bill each month. Get a copy of the newspaper each week to find coupons in the inserts, which can be used on name brand products. You can also pair the manufacturer coupon with a store coupon for additional savings. Coupon cutting isn’t shameful – why pay more for a product when you don’t have to?

Pay Yourself First

Make it a point to pay yourself first when you’re trying to save for college while on a budget. Set a goal on how much you want to save each month to avoid spending the money on luxuries or unnecessary purchases. Consider that money untouchable.

Open a Good Savings Account

Instead of saving your cash in a penny bank or under the mattress, open a good savings account for safe keeping and allow your money to grow at a faster rate. Consider opening a savings account at a credit union, which will allow you to avoid extra fees and penalties throughout the year that you’d otherwise be charged at larger financial institutions. Something like TruePartner Credit Union is a good place to start when looking for online banking options.

Tutor Other Students

Make extra money by earning cash on campus by offering tutoring services to your peers. This can allow you to have a flexible work schedule while keeping your mind sharp and practicing your communication skills with others.

Get Cash Back

Earn extra cash back by using a credit card on your purchases, which will allow you to earn money that can be used towards your college tuition. Many credit cards offer one to five percent cash back throughout the year on restaurants, grocery stores, or movie theaters for a great way to earn money that can be used towards your education – just remember to pay your bill each month.

It can be difficult to save money for college on a limited budget, but by avoiding unnecessary spending and finding creative ways to earn extra cash, it’s possible to pay for college in full and avoid getting into debt in the process.

This article was contributed by guest author Anita Ginsburg.

Image by 401(K) 2012, Flickr

Image by 401(K) 2012, Flickr

The cost of college may represent one of the single most expensive investments in your life. However, that investment may pay out large dividends when used correctly. There are also several side expenses associated with college such as entertainment and meals that are often overlooked. Here are a few slick tips that can stretch those dollars, and help you avoid the headache of a draining bank account.

Stretch Those Meals
Many college students are on a combination of meal plans and budgets for cooked meals. You can save a considerable amount by making note of available meal plans versus cooking on your own. Staying in a dorm limits the type of food you can prepare due to restrictions on hot plates and other devices. However, you can often adjust meal plans to suit your needs in your room and board. Extend these services by reducing the cost of extras such as brewing your own coffee, or using a water filter to have fresh water.

Be sure to combine the collective costs of groceries with roommates as well. Putting meals “all in the pot”, and using money saving devices such as crock pot cookers, can save considerably on overall meal costs.

Consolidate Luxury Expenses
There are extra vices in college that come along with hidden costs. Some of the most expensive extras are going out to eat, and items such as cigarettes. Consolidating meals into groups, and using gadgets like online study tools reduce your overall costs substantially. Save even more with coupon codes for discountrue.com where you can find deals on many different kinds of items.

Tap into Career Centers
A great deal of the effort in college is preparation for using your degree for employment or advancement. Most colleges offer substantial free career planning resources. These career resource centers are also a hub for on campus jobs. The best way to save money in the long run, is to find on campus jobs that tie into your chosen major.

The added benefit is a perk on your resume, and reduced costs from career search programs after college. These resource centers provide you everything from resume critiques to mock interviews and can help you get a good head start for the future.

Libraries Are Your Best Friend
Public and university libraries provide a wealth of free resources that can save you money. Professors often put textbooks on reserve and scanned copies may be available on request. Check into these copies prior to class registration. Some professors have different book requirements, and a slightly older edition may be compatible as well.

A library can also provide free tunes and videos for your entertainment needs. Large libraries may also offer streaming services and e-books for tablet devices for free.

Navigating college requires dedication in both academics and finance. Most of the free resources found here are expanding rapidly and may dramatically reduce the cost of a traditional college experience. Some of the hidden expenses of entertainment can add up quickly and these tips are a surefire way to beat those costs.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.


There’s no doubt that college is expensive. Many students graduate in tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Whether you want to avoid taking out more loans or just want a bit of extra spending money, it’s a smart idea to look for ways to earn money while you study. Not only can this help you get through a tough time, but it will set you up with the experience you need to get your first job after graduation.

On-Campus Jobs

When it comes to convenience, you can’t beat getting a job right on campus. From serving food to restocking books to taking notes for a professor, you’ll find that there are a wide variety of jobs. Unfortunately, the best ones go fast, so you should try to plan ahead if you want to get a good one. Talk to the hiring manager the day you get back to campus. Many schools offer a central place to find these types of jobs. If you’re not sure where to find this at your school, just ask.

Local Jobs

If the on-campus job isn’t cutting it, consider hitting the pavement in the local town. Retail stores, restaurants and other small businesses are often an ideal solution for college students because they don’t require employees to work full-time, and they often are willing to work around the student’s schedule. The best way to make this work is to try to arrange your school schedule so that you are always available at certain times. For example, it might be best to try to get all of your classes finished before noon so that you are always available to work at night.


Tutoring offers a great way of making money on the side. Look for students on campus or even at local elementary, middle and high schools. This can work particularly well if you have a specialized major like math, chemistry or English. These types of tutors are always in demand. However, you may also be able to get a job with a company that specializes in tutoring for tests like the SAT and ACT. If you want this type of gig, you’ll need to have excellent scores yourself.

Selling Unwanted Belongings

Garage sales can still earn you plenty of cash, but there are far more ways for you to make a bit of cash from your unwanted items. You can sell your iPhone if it’s broken or outdated, or take your old clothes to a consignment shop that offers cash on the spot. Last year’s textbooks could still fetch a fair price if you sell them through Amazon or a site like Half.com. Some companies will also give you money for your old smartphone after you’ve upgraded. Basically, you just need to have a look around your room. If there’s something you’re not using, find a way to sell it.


If you have a special skill, freelancing may be a good way to bring in some extra money. Graphic designers can work for small businesses who need advertising materials, writers might blog for companies and programmers can design apps. Sites like Freelancer.com or Upwork are a good place to start. It can take some time to build up your reputation on these sites, but once you do, it could become a steady source of income even after you graduate.

Resourceful students are always on the lookout for ways that they can bring in a bit of cash. By taking a good look at your talents and time constraints, you can find some ways to build up your income. Think outside the box and you may find yourself earning even more.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Sturgis.

college students

The concept of a starving student is not new. In fact, the majority of college students struggle to make financial ends meet. College students are also known to be extremely busy juggling all of their classes, homework, and other responsibilities. However, there are certain things that students can do to save money and time while at college.

Make a Budget

It sounds simple, but the truth is that not having a budget is the number one reason why college students do not have enough money. It’s easy to go to a nightclub with friends or go out to eat, but before you know it, there is not enough money to pay for books and other necessities. It is essential for college students to have a clear idea of how much money they’re spending each month and use this as a guideline for knowing when they can spend and when they need to cut back.

Be Smart with Textbooks

It is estimated that college students will spend in excess of $1,300 every single year on textbooks. Many are frustrated to learn at the end of the semester that the textbooks they spent hundreds of dollars on can only be sold back for just pennies on the dollar. So save money by borrowing textbooks from college libraries or local libraries if that is not an option. Purchase textbooks secondhand, online, or from other students. Keep your textbooks in good condition so that they can be resold when they are no longer needed.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

In most college towns, businesses, restaurants, and other venues will offer discounts to students who attend local schools. Before buying anything, ask about a student discount. The worst-case scenario is that they will say there is not a student discount available. Best case scenario is that you will find yourself saving hundreds of dollars every year.

Save Money on Food and Drink

If your college offers a meal plan, use that before eating at fast food restaurants. Minimize the amount of money spent on alcohol consumption. Learn to prepare inexpensive meals at home or in your dorm. Purchase a nice coffee maker as opposed to spending four or five dollars on a coffee at your local coffee shop. Be on the lookout for freebies that are offered at school. Become a frugal shopper. If you’re going to go to the grocery store or to a restaurant, first check online for coupons or promotions to see if you can get a percentage off of your meal or even a free meal.

Take Online Classes to Save Time and Money

One of the most modern ways to save money and time during your tenure at almost any college is to take online classes. The control that you have over your schedule will be sure to help you hold a part time job and manage stress levels during the semester. Online courses, like an online Masters of Law, can be less expensive and more rewarding than ever before.

Skip the Gym

Gym memberships are expensive. Most college campuses offer free fitness classes or intramural sports. Use these as a free way to keep in shape as well as a way to save time. These options are usually much more accessible to students, leaving time for essential activities. Here are some other free exercise ideas.

Going to college is expensive, and it is getting more expensive every year. By following the five suggestions above, a college student can guarantee that they save time and not break the bank while at college.

This article was contributed by guest author Anita Ginsburg.

by Simon Cunningham on Flickr

by Simon Cunningham on Flickr

The majority of university students have forever dealt with student loans. Past students may still be trying to pay off their loans while current ones may feel swamped with the amount of money they will have to pay. Luckily, there are many resources online that have great information for students on how to deal with loans and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Here is a consolidated guide on student loans:

  1. Many experts recommend consolidating loans, and it is something that students should look into, especially if juggling multiple students loans. It combines them all into one loan that can be paid off through one payment per month rather than multiple. This is a huge benefit that can save you money through a plan that better fits your financial needs. Keep in mind that you may end up spending more money if you choose a longer payment schedule, and it may be required that you have a locked interest rate, based on your multiple loans.
  2. Interest rates play an important role in deciding whether to consolidate your loans. Federal loans are presented with fixed rates which establish how much you will be paying throughout your loan schedule. Private loans are subject to change depending on whether they are a variable or a fixed rate loan. Both have pros and cons, but again what is important is that you find a payment schedule that best fits your schedule.
  3. An example of a strategy that can be used when paying off student loans is to pick the shortest payment schedule that you can manage. The longer the payment schedule, the more money in interest you will end up paying, which in most cases will lead to paying off way more than you borrowed.
  4. Attempt to pay more than you need to each month as well. That little amount that you add on to your monthly payments will save you money in the long run and get that loan paid off more quickly. Prioritize the most expensive loan too if you haven’t consolidated your loans, because again, you will save money and time due to the higher interest rates on that loan. Contrarily, you can prioritize your smallest loan to pay it off as quickly as possible. This will save you the most time in the long run because of how long the small interest rate schedule is.
  5. Look for student discount and loan forgiveness options if need be. Those small breaks will help you even if the discounts are very minimal. Loan forgiveness should only be used as a last resort option as it does come with some important clauses.

Student loans remain extremely common with the university population today, and will certainly be an important factor for students in the future. Consolidating federal loans is an option that can help students manage their finances while not impacting their financial situation due to locked interest rates. Private lenders can either save or cost you more money depending on the rates you choose. At the end of the day, pick the schedule and tips that fit your needs and will benefit you the most, in the area you wish to benefit the most. Just remember to always read the fine print.

Find out more about Loans and Consolidation from The Simple Dollar.

Image by Newton Free Library, Flickr

Image by Newton Free Library, Flickr

Jennifer Fonda* is currently pursuing her MS in computer science from Oxford University in the UK, which is deemed to be one of the most expensive universities in the world. Even though she comes from a middle class family, she made it to one of the most expensive colleges in the world without having to worry. She says,

For me it really was not hard to come up with the required admission fee. I had already saved quite a lot during my undergrad. My parents inculcated the habit of saving every penny I could since a young age. It really helped me pay off my tuition fee.

Being short on funds is the permanent state of every college student. But if you have bigger dreams in mind and want to go study outside of the US to gain global exposure, you need to start planning early. Jennifer knew her parents would not be able to afford the expenses of living abroad, but that didn’t deter her from pursuing her dream. If you want to study abroad, you have two options: either give up or go through the hard work of earning and saving money. It is up to you which one will you choose.

Planning throughout the four years of your undergraduate course will help you save money during grad school. Here are a few points which will not only help you save money but also guide you on making some:

Manage your money

  1. Set a monthly budget – This doesn’t have to be a difficult task. An Excel spreadsheet will be enough. You need to keep track of your monthly expenses and stop any unnecessary spending habits. List your fixed expenses like transportation costs, food etc, and keep money aside for these. Put aside some for saving, and the remaining balance can be used for unplanned expenses like shopping or gifting.
  2. Plan your expenses – Has buying expensive things left you cashless? Simple math and bit of planning can help you avoid this situation. Cut down your expenses by a certain amount for a couple of months and save the leftover money. Planning ahead is the easy way to avoid bankruptcy. Keep your eyes open for clearance sales at big-box stores – you may find some great deals there.
  3. Save money for emergencies – For students without a regular source of income, it is mandatory to have a fund for emergency situations. Rather than borrowing from friends or family, save money yourself by making small adjustments like skipping a movie or a trip to help you prepare for an unexpected crisis.
  4. Open a savings account – Rather than going for a regular bank account, go for an account specifically designed for students. Student savings accounts have other benefits apart from zero-balance facility which make them better than any other no-frills account.
  5. Avoid misusing credit cards – As mentioned above, if you open bank account for students you may get a credit card with low interest rates – but you want to avoid paying interest as much as possible, so if you are going to use a credit card, make sure you can pay off your bills on time and in full every time.
  6. Choose prepaid plans for your phone – Choose prepaid plans instead of pay-as-you-go for your phone will help you avoid surprises at the end of the month.

Increase your savings

  1. Be patient – If you want to buy a new iPhone, wait for a few months – gadgets’ prices fall as soon as there is a successor of the same model in the market. Postponing your purchase for some time can get you a reduced price.
  2. Watch for online discounts – If you are shopping or booking shows online, Google discount coupons, codes, or deals. Discount sites are the new money-saving method, as you can easily get a discount of 20% or free shipping with using a coupon code. You can get good bargains at restaurants, movie tickets, clothes, gym memberships, etc. Get an Amazon Prime account to get the best deals and discounts.
  3. Make shopping lists – A good way to control impulsive shopping is to make lists before going to the market. Though the market is filled with options, stick to your requirements, and you will save more money at the end of each month. Or use the wish list option many websites offer while shopping online.
  4. Save, save, save – Buying course books often leaves your pockets empty. Instead of buying, borrow them from a library or purchase them at a second hand bookstore. Once you graduate, the secondhand books can be re-sold and the money can be put towards your savings.
  5. Try getting cheaper accommodations – As a college student, you can save a lot of money on lodging. Rather than living in a studio apartment near college, try getting a shared apartment in the suburbs. It could cut your rent money in half. Or try sharing your apartment with 3-4 roommates, which further reduces your share load.
  6. If you’re in the city, don’t rent a car – Big cities like Toronto or New York have a good public transportation system in place, so you can save a lot of cash by not buying or renting a car to move around the city. Invest in a train pass or student pass to save more on travelling.

Earn some money

  1. Turn hobbies into careers – If you love to bake, or are great at painting, you can always turn this passion into earning. Form your own music band or start a blog or vlog. If you have talent, you can make it a career even before you finish college.
  2. Work part-time – Get a part-time job to earn some pocket money. Many jobs have a constant demand for interns. Remember, at this stage no job is small or big; you need to do what is required without feeling embarrassed of your job. Many job search engines are specifically designed for college students, and can help you look for temporary jobs. You can also talk to your college placement cell and consider the options available in your city.
  3. Participate in college activities – Be part of cultural societies and participate in competitions which offer cash prizes. Find out about scholarships offered by your college. If you are eligible to apply, do so! If your professors are involved in some research work, ask them if they need some assistance. You may get a stipend for doing so.

This article was contributed by guest author Harleen.