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Chelsea: Hi, I'm Chelsea

Lauren: And I'm Lauren

Chelsea: And we are...

Together: The Financial Diet!

Chelsea: So today we're going to be talking about something that we all know already, which is that college is really expensive. The average student debt right now for just undergrad is about $30,000 which means that for every student the biggest question on their mind in addition to what do I want to do with my life is how do I make college cheaper?

Lauren: And while there are many alternatives to a 4 year college education, and we're actually going to be doing a video on that pretty soon. If you're looking to do the more traditional university route, you have to be as financially savvy as you can be to get the degree that you want. 

Chelsea: And while we all know that it's up to us to get the cost of college down, there's a lot of advice on the subject that feels a little bit obvious. Like yes you can work several jobs while being a student, but I think everyone knows that already. 

Lauren: So we wanted to share with you some of the less obvious ways to make college cheaper that don't require you working the night shift while cramming for exams. 

Chelsea: Number one is to look into cheap or free housing during the school year. A big part of what made college affordable to me when I went abroad to study was the fact that I was working as an au pair, which meant that I got a place to live as well as a stipend for doing my nannying job while I was going to school. And in fact about au pair jobs in particular, a lot of them are specifically looking for students so they're willing and expecting to work around student's schedules. But in general jobs like that which provide housing as part of their compensation or things like living with relatives, co ops, or even looking online at locals who are renting out maybe a room or a basement in their house are all great ways to make the dreaded student housing cost a lot more affordable. 

Lauren: And actually the college that I went to, on campus housing is more expensive than tuition. 

Chelsea: So obviously a lot of these housing options are more non-traditional solutions, but a big part of reducing the costs of college is sort of breaking up with that perfect dorm life ideal you have in your head. Trust me that future you will really thank you for making the temporary sacrifice and plus you have plenty of time in your 20's to be living, laughing, and loving with your roommates. 

Lauren: Number 2 is remember that there is a scholarship for literally everything. So remember that scholarships are not just based on grades alone and that there are scholarships available for your hobbies, your major that you're pursuing, your gender, your ethnicity, pretty much everything. 

Chelsea: There are even scholarships for languages you might speak. 

Lauren: So make sure that you're taking time to do your research on specialized apps rather than just relying on traditional websites. A great app in particular is called Scholly and we put the link to that in the description below. And it was actually designed by students for students and they kind of simplified and streamlined the process. So don't forget you can still apply to scholarships once you're an actual student. So many people step on campus and they think "Oh, that's it for me! Not in the cards" but it's actually the competition pool is a lot lower, so it's a good idea. 

Chelsea: Number 3 make a part of your college selection how many credits do they let me transfer? As someone who went to a community college herself, I'm always banging the drum here and in real life about how it's a great choice to go to community college for at least part of your education, especially with all of the recent pushes to make it free for everyone. And we'll to more information on that in the description. For different schools and different majors there's a huge spectrum of how many community college credits they allow you to transfer ranging from none at all to basically all of your prerequisites. And making one of your criteria to be how many credits could I transfer can literally be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars a year. 

Lauren: Number 4 don't borrow unsubsidized loans if you don't have to. So the main difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans is that subsidized loans are given to you by the federal government and they actually pay the interest on those loans while you're in school. For unsubsidized loans you're actually paying interest from the day that those loans are dispersed up until graduation and then beyond. You might be eligible for a subsidized loan, but you have to make sure that you meet the financial criteria for it. You also have to be taking a certain number of credits to be eligible. And we've put a link in the description below so that you can read up on subsidized and unsubsidized loans for yourself. 

Chelsea: As a general rule, you shouldn't be approaching unsubsidized loans until you're sure that you've exhausted every subsidized option. Number 5 is never be too proud to milk that student discount. Basically anytime you're buying something as a student just check and see if you can get a discount on it as a student because there's a huge chance that you can. Everything from banking to online courses to coffee shops to transportation to sub shops probably offer you a student discount. And in addition to the fact that it saves you money on your overall college experience, trust me that when you now longer have that discount you're going to rue the day that you didn't take time to ask if you could see that movie for $8. 

Lauren: So college is going to cost you something either way, but it doesn't have to be the crazy burden that a lot of people think it is. 

Chelsea: And as I mentioned, redefining what the "college experience" must look like is the biggest step. As someone who went a very non-traditional route and lives pretty much debt free as a result and was still able to live abroad and do all that fun stuff, I can assure you will not regret your choice to save money. It can feel painful in the moment to give up certain perfect college-y things, but comparing a year or two of pinched to potentially decades of debt, there's no comparison. 

Lauren: And speaking as someone who went the more traditional route along with my partner, we're now living with about six figures of student debt. Looking back on it there were a lot of small changes that we could've made to alleviate the kind of debt we're experiencing now. And of course we don't regret our educations, but we could've navigated them a lot smarter and so can you. 

Chelsea: So as always, thanks for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to go to thefinancialdiet.com for more.

Together: Bye!