The average cost of tuition in the US for private institutions is $33,480 and $9,650 for community colleges. As large as these numbers are, you’d assume that it includes the cost of everything you’ll need to successfully complete school. Yet the truth is, this does not cover all of your expenses. Food, fuel, books, supplies, and cost of living expenses will ultimately come out of your pocket. When you’re a student on a fixed budget, affording these things can be challenging.

The good news… there are options available that won’t require you to tack onto your student loan debt. Check out some of these nifty solutions below:

  • Short Term Loan – If you have verifiable income, have a checking account, and need some extra cash for supplies, lab fees, or books, your best bet is to apply for a short term loan. They are a lot easier to qualify for than bank loans in that you don’t need a high credit score or collateral, and you can generally receive funds in a few days. Online installment loans, for instance, allow you to get as much as $1250 and repay it in smaller installments so that you can stick to your budget.
  • Couponing – If you’ve never embraced couponing before, now is the time to do so. While one coupon for $0.50 off might not seem like much savings, when you combine them with other coupons and sales items, the savings can really add up. Also, many stores offer double and triple coupon offers allowing you to maximize your savings potential. Coupons can be used for discounts on food, entertainment, and living necessities.
  • Carpool – Commuting daily to campus, depending on where you live in proximity to the college can get expensive. Rather than burn up your budget by constantly refueling, you should think about carpooling with other students. Carpooling cuts the cost of commuting and can also help you to develop new friendships with fellow classmates.
  • Roommates – For college students that don’t live on campus, but choose to move out of mom and dad’s house, the cost of living expenses are even more. Rent and utilities alone could be enough to ruin a budget. If you’re having trouble footing the bills on your own, you can look for a roommate to help cut the costs. While a roommate can relieve the financial stress of living on your own, be sure that you select a roommate who will be financially responsible or else you could find yourself in more debt.
  • Used or Photocopied Books – Books are often excluded from tuition costs. One textbook or eBook could cost you several hundred dollars. Instead of investing in a new book that you’re only going to use for a semester, you should look for used books or see if you can copy someone else’s book. Used books are advertised for a fraction of the costs so ask students who have been in this class if they’re looking to sell their book. Lastly, you and a student can go half on the cost of a book and then make copies so that each of you has the materials necessary for class.

Odd and End Jobs

If you’re still struggling to find the means to afford your college expenses, taking on a few odd and end jobs is an efficient solution. The internet has a plethora of things you can do to make money without interrupting your college schedule. Answering surveys online for cash, completing product reviews, or even writing papers for other students can be an easy way to earn some extra cash to add to your college budget.

Although tuition won’t cover all of your college expenses, there are ways to make college living easier and more affordable. Each of the above avenues is a proven solution for saving or earning money to add to your monthly budget. With smart financial decisions and the money saving opportunities listed above, the financial side of college will stress you less so that you can enjoy the experience more.