They say it won’t buy you happiness, but they can’t stop you from trying

The only thing less fun than staying up all night cramming for an exam is knowing that you are paying thousands of dollars for the opportunity to do so. Yes, it sucks that college is so expensive, but it’s probably the best investment you’ll ever make. That old saying is true: you’ve gotta spend money to make money. College graduates earn, on average, over $20,000 more per year than those with only a high school education (and flip over 20,000 fewer burgers).

College is the first time that most young people are in full control of their money. No longer are your parents there to look over your shoulder and scold you about buying those designer jeans (“They came pre-ripped?!”). This heightened financial freedom brings about a need for students to learn to be responsible with their money. After all, that extra $20,000 a year won’t mean much if you graduate owing $150,000 (which some students actually do).

Before you go on your next shopping spree, take the time to get informed about how to manage your money while you’re in college. This section is a good place to get started. You can read all about:

  • Living on a budget. Believe it or not, being a college student and eating three full meals a day are not mutually exclusive. Our money-saving tips and advice for eating cheaply can help you learn to stretch a dollar.
  • Financial aid. The vast majority of college students need help paying for their education. We take you through the ins and outs of the four main sources of financial aid: student loans, scholarships, grants and work-study. We take a bunch of confusing acronyms (FAFSA, FSEOG, PLUS) and break them down into the details that matter to you.
  • Student jobs. If you want to have any spending money, you’ll probably have to find a part-time job. We can help you find the job that’s right for you and learn how to balance work and school. Plus, when the school year’s over, we have the inside scoop on how to find a great summer job.
  • Credit cards. They may be convenient, but they can get you into a lot of trouble if you don’t know how to use them wisely. No one gets through college without being offered a credit card, and most students can’t resist signing up. Do yourself a favor and read up on how credit card companies take your money and the common mistakes that students make.
  • Debt. This four-letter word doesn’t always have to be obscene. The truth is that most college students incur some debt during the course of their studies, either from student loans or from credit cards. We have the details on why students go into debt, how it affects their lives, and what they can do to minimize the negative impact. We also take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of consolidating your debt.
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