Smart Money Moves to Sidestep College Loan Debt: A Comprehensive Guide

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The specter of college loan debt is a looming concern for millions of students and their families. The consequences of accumulating this financial burden can significantly hinder opportunities and choices in adult life. As such, making strategic financial decisions while in college can be your shield against a future bogged down with excessive debt. If you’re looking for help to avoid loan debt, check out this guide shared below by JST Investment Consulting. 

Use On-Campus Resources to Save Money

Most universities provide an array of free resources like tutoring centers, libraries, and computer labs. These services not only boost your academic performance but can also pave the way to scholarships and reduced time spent on independent study. More scholarships mean fewer loans and fewer loans mean less debt. So, take advantage of what your campus offers; it’s already covered in your tuition.

Start Cooking at Home

Dining out may be convenient, but it can eat away at your savings faster than you can say "check, please." Preparing meals at home can drastically cut your monthly expenditures and typically offers healthier alternatives. Start by planning your meals for the week and making a budget-friendly shopping list. Then, stick to your plan and notice how much you save.

Look for Affordable Transportation

While the freedom of owning a car is enticing, it comes with hidden costs like fuel, maintenance, and parking fees. Public transportation often proves to be a cost-efficient alternative. Download public transportation apps that help you navigate bus and train schedules effectively. If public transport isn't your thing, consider walking, cycling, or carpooling to save money.

Make the Most of Work-Study Programs

Federal work-study programs provide part-time jobs to students with financial needs, allowing them to earn money to help pay for their education. Apart from easing financial stress, these programs offer valuable work experience in your field of study. Secure a work-study position, and you'll be taking a dual step toward both educational and financial independence.

Tap into Employer Tuition Reimbursement

If you're already working while attending college, check if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs. Many companies invest in their employees' education as a way of improving their skill set. Speak with your HR department to explore this opportunity, which can substantially lessen the financial weight of your education.

Plan a Well-Executed ‘Gap Year’

A well-planned gap year can be much more than a break from academics. It provides a unique opportunity to gain life experiences, volunteer, or work, thereby bringing more clarity to your career goals. This clarity can help you avoid wasting time and money on a degree or courses that you later find out are not aligned with your interests.

Look for Ways to Boost Your Income

High-paying jobs aren’t limited to those with a degree; even students can aim for positions that offer more than minimum wage. One key step is knowing how to create a resume that effectively showcases your skills and experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Your resume isn't just a list of past work; it's your personal marketing tool designed to demonstrate your value to potential employers, so make sure it works for you by tailoring it to each specific job application.

Consider the Affordability of an Online Degree

Online education has grown significantly in terms of credibility and quality, offering a wide range of academic programs, including different types of business degrees. Many reputable institutions now provide fully online courses that rival their on-campus counterparts in rigor and educational value. Completing your degree online can be a cost-effective way to obtain a quality education, but the key is to ensure the program you choose is accredited and respected in your desired field.

The choices you make in college can significantly impact your financial future. From maximizing campus resources and cooking at home to exploring work-study options and employer benefits, each decision can bring you closer to a life free of crippling college debt. Implement these smart money moves, and you’re well on your way to securing a more financially stable future.


This article was written by our featured contributor, Sara Bailey of As a widow and mother of two, she knows from experience how important it is for parents to have a strong financial plan.

Excerpt from “Like many people who have lost the love of their life, I never in a million years thought I’d be here. On my 40th birthday — which I spent with my husband and our two kids bowling, devouring cupcakes, and laughing more than I ever thought was possible — I never dreamed that by my 41st, I’d be a grieving single mom raising a son and daughter on her own. But here I am, and with each passing day, I get a little stronger, and life gets a little easier.” If you or you know someone who may be facing similar challenges, please visit Sara’s website for support.

JST Investment Consulting does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. 

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