Practical Solutions For Managing Unexpected College Expenses

Whether you attend a community college or an ivy league university, the cost of higher education is expensive. Students must have the means to cover everything from application fees and tuition to housing and living expenses. Although this isn’t always an easy task, things like scholarships, grants, financial aid, work-study programs, and familial assistance reduce out-of-pocket costs. While students utilize these resources and implement money management strategies to keep college expenses under control, emergencies and unforeseen events still arise.

What do you do when something comes up that’s more than you can handle? Maybe your car breaks down, the cost of groceries increases, or you’ve joined an organization that requires you to pay for uniforms and dues. As circumstances like this happen frequently in college, students must prepare. Below are some practical solutions they can turn to in their time of need.

Eliminate Wasteful Spending

Though it’s tempting to spend money on things that make college life more interesting, there must be a balance. If you’re buying something like college apparel, overpriced cafeteria food, and fancy school supplies, perhaps you should cut back. By reducing the amount of money, you spend on things you don’t need; you free up cash for those unexpected emergencies.

Friends And Family

When you’re in a financial bind, sometimes the best place to turn is to the people you know. If the expense is small enough, your relatives or friends may be willing to loan you the cash. Keep in mind; you don’t want to abuse this privilege or break your agreement. Your friends and family have financial obligations of their own to handle. When they give you money, this takes away from their budget. Essentially, you want to honor your agreement and provide them with the money back as quickly as possible.

Installment Loans

Though most college students have jobs to cover everyday expenses, they often lack the credit necessary to borrow funds when faced with a financial emergency. If they are fortunate enough to get approved by a traditional bank or lender, they pay higher interest rates, which can strain their budgets.

Ultimately, using installment loans is a practical alternative. These are short-term loans for applications with minimal or lousy credit. They’re easy to qualify for and can provide you with several hundred dollars to tackle an emergency within a few business days. The monthly payments are often small and affordable, making it easier for them to repay the balance without going deep into debt.

Side Hustles

Not all college students have the time or resources to maintain a full or part-time job. Their hectic schedules often make it challenging to keep up with employer expectations. Fortunately, there is another option. Many young adults start side hustles related to their skills, education, or personal interest to generate income.

Whether you offer tutoring sessions, start a blog, become a freelance writer, walk dogs, or join a rideshare service, these are jobs you can complete when it’s convenient for you. Side gigs can be significant financial resources for covering everyday expenses and unexpected emergencies without the need to go into debt or the pressure to return the money.

The Art of Negotiation

When unexpected events come up that require more money than you have to give, the art of negotiation is a lifesaver. Let’s say you enrolled in a class with lab fees you weren’t prepared to cover. You can contact the admissions or accounting department, explain your circumstances, and negotiate terms you can afford. They may be willing to let you pay a percentage now and the rest in installments. You may even be surprised to find that they have access to programs that cover all or a portion of college-related expenses that can take care of the issue for you.

Getting into college is expensive. When you add to that the cost of emergencies and unexpected events, it only magnifies the financial pressure for students. Though having emergency savings would eliminate many of these issues, most students are living on tight budgets. Fortunately, there are practical solutions like those listed above that can be used to get you out of a jam.