How to use your student loans for living expenses


If you are thinking of joining college this year, it’s vital to know what expenses you’ll need to cover for effective budgeting. Apart from the school’s tuition fees, you’ll have other college costs like rent, transportation, food and groceries, books and materials, housing supplies, and electronics.

Luckily, you can take out a federal student loan to help you cover your tuition and classroom fees. However, most students tend to use their student loans on anything resulting in their debt accumulating since they take out more loans.

While it’s not advisable to use your federal student loans to cover living expenses, at times, you may have no alternative. In this case, you have to be smart about how you spend your money to avoid taking on additional debt to survive college.

Here is how you can responsibly use your student loans for living expenses.

1. Budget

Without a budget, you can easily apply for a higher loan amount than you need. Before you settle in school, ensure you create a rough estimate of your living expenses. If you have family members helping you out, ensure you factor this in your budget as their contributions reduce the amount of money you need to borrow.

2. Think twice before spending

Other than the usual living expenses like food, shelter, and clothing, some are more of a luxury than a need. For example, your friends want to take a road trip during the weekend, and they want you to join. 

Spending your loan on this trip is irresponsible and unnecessary. Therefore, before buying that new car or eating out at an expensive restaurant, ask yourself if you need it.

3. Save as much as possible

Spending money on living expenses doesn’t mean you have to go all out. You can save a few bucks here and there by taking advantage of offers and discounts. For example, do as much shopping as you need during black Friday sales or other holiday sales.

Additionally, if your school provides course books and materials in the library, borrow instead of buying.

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