Tips Can Help Students Manage Debt
in School and Beyond
by Larry Viterna, USA Funds Services Regional Director
When college students compare their monthly expenses with their monthly income, many may wonder how they will be able to make ends meet without going deeply in debt. A new training program aimed at preventing education-loan default identifies a number of successful money-management strategies for college students.
Many of those penny-pinching tactics require little sacrifice or effort - and some even can be fun. According to Life SkillsSM, saving money each month can be as simple as turning off lights when they are not in use and as fun as splitting restaurant meals with a friend. USA Funds® developed Life Skills to equip postsecondary institutions to teach their students effective time- and money-management skills.
The following are some tips that Life Skills offers students who need help conserving cash:
- Put all your loose change in a jar. Keep it for laundry, or save it for unexpected expenses.
- Shop for clothes wisely. Shop at discount outlet stores, consignment stores and campus thrift shops. Look for generic labels. Avoid buying and wearing clothes that must be dry-cleaned.
- Avoid impulse buying. If you want or think that you need something, wait a full 24 hours before you buy it.
- Learn to cook for yourself.
- Shop around when selecting phone or bank services. Select services that meet your own specific needs and that do not include costs for features you will not use.
- Seek out free or inexpensive entertainment. If movies are your interest, go to a matinee at a discount movie theater - instead of paying full price in the evening. Or, rent a movie. Other suggestions include visiting museums and parks, hiking and reading books.
Life Skills advises students to begin reducing debt by determining how they might trim $100 from their expenditures each month. Doing so, the training says, can be a good first step for students to establish good saving and spending habits that last throughout their college career and beyond.
More money-management tips - as well as information about financial aid, completing school on time, succeeding in school and after graduation, and repaying education loans - is available in the Life-Skills training. The course now is being piloted at 25 colleges, universities and career schools and will be available to other USA Funds customers at no cost beginning in January 2002.
For more money-saving tips for students, and to learn more about Life Skills, contact your USA Funds debt-management consultant, Carol Buchli, at 573-341-2542; toll-free at 800-551-1353, ext. 7877; or by e-mail at email@example.com. More information about Life Skills also will be available as part of the Fall 2001 USA Funds Student-Loan Workshops scheduled Nov. 1 in Kansas City, Mo., and Nov. 2 in Wichita. Visit the USA Funds Web site, www.usafunds.org, to learn more about the workshops and to register.