Are you interested in earning a Bible degree? A college education can be very expensive in today’s world. But, if God is calling you to a specific ministry, you would be well served to earn a Bible education that will prepare yourself for that ministry. I have learned a few different ways to cut down on spending and make college more affordable, which enabled me to earn a Bachelor’s and work on my Master’s now. If you are paying for all (or a good chunk) of your college education, then these money-saving tips are exactly what you need to thrive in college (financially, at least).
Here are 21 ways that you can save money in Bible college, so that you can make it through with little or no debt:
- Find Affordable Living. This is all about living within your means. If you have to share an apartment with multiple people to bring that housing bill down, then go for it. I’ve seen 6-7 people stay in an apartment and live to tell about it. If you have to live in the dorms, look for ways to reduce the cost (become an RA, use scholarships for rent, etc).
- Apply for Scholarships. The community college I attended in high school had over $50,000 in unused scholarships every year that I was there. At the Bible college I attended, there wasn’t a lot of competition for scholarships due to a low number of applicants. The time you use to fill out a few applications could turn into a big scholarship or two (or numerous small ones), so it’s totally worth it.
- Eat Cheap and Healthy. It’s possible (no, really!). During college, my wife and I found a cheap produce store where we bought most of our fresh food. We currently utilize Aldi’s for our regular groceries. Look around and see if you can find a cheap grocery store. You will have the rest of your life to shop at Whole Foods.
- Ask for Practical Gifts for Christmas. This one may hurt, but don’t ask for the latest gadgets and clothing for Christmas. Find out which textbooks you will need for the spring semester, then add a few to your wishlist. Also, asking for the necessities (school clothes, amenities, food, coffee, etc) will help too.
- Buy and Resell Textbooks. If you don’t want to keep one, then re-sell it to the younger students. If you can borrow a book or loan a book from the library, then you can save lots of money instead of buying every textbook you need. If you really like a few of your textbooks, buy them later on.
- Work a Part-time Job. A little bit goes a long way! Even though this probably won’t pay the entire college bill (depends on the tuition costs at your school), it will be a big help.
- Work Like Crazy in the Summer. Most of your friends will say it is too hard to get multiple summer jobs. Don’t listen to them. Be proactive in looking for positions. Talk to people you know that might have the connections to get you a job, or search through the job openings at your college or in your hometown. Many people take one of their skills and turn it into a second or third job (ex: guitar players, you could teach guitar lessons). Work like crazy so that you don’t have to drop out of school due to finances.
- Ask Your Church for Help. If your church doesn’t offer scholarships already, contact the Missions Board and ask if they would consider supporting you as you prepare for ministry. You’d be surprised at how many churches will try to help in some way.
- Make a Budget. When you plan out what you will spend, you are less likely to “unknowingly” increase your spending by making impulse purchases. It’s tedious, but it is very successful way to save.
- Listen to Dave Ramsey Podcasts. Just by listening to him, you will be inspired to save money. Guaranteed.
- Get a Free Checking and Savings Account. This one is pretty simple: free=good for college students.
- Sign Up for the Payment Plan. See if your school will allow you to sign up for a payment plan, so that you don’t have to take out a loan. Speaking of which…
- Never Pay Interest. If you can, avoid taking out loans. They get expensive, fast. If you have to take out a loan, work as hard as you can to pay it off, making extra payments as frequently as you can. If you have a credit card, don’t purchase something with it unless you can pay the credit card company that same day.
- Save Your Spare Change. When I was a teenager, I saved all of my change for over a year. I ended up with over $200. Enough said.
- Eat Filling Foods. Think oatmeal, peanut butter, nuts, and other filling foods. Eat something filling for at least a meal per day, and you will be less hungry for the rest of it.
- Find Affordable Furniture. If you need to furnish your place, check out garage sales and Craigslist. Maybe you have family or friends who would be interested in giving you their old furniture.
- Buy Clothes Used. I know this will be a hard one for some people, but it can work. Target the expensive items like dress clothes. I once purchased a nice suit jacket for $1. It is totally do-able to find nice clothes for cheap.
- Name Your Price. When you travel to visit family and friends, plan ahead of time and find affordable travel. Some websites like Priceline will let you name your own price.
- Join the Family Plan. Are you on your parent’s health insurance plan? How about the cell phone plan? Find ways to work together and save.
- Fill It Up. If you aren’t filling your laundry machine up all the way, then make sure you start doing it every time. The less loads you have to do, the more money you save.
- Don’t Pay for Cable. There are cheaper alternative for entertainment (if you even have the time). See if you can split a Netflix account with a family member, and check into your college library for movies that you can check out for free.
A penny saved is a penny earned. I hope these tips will help you save lots of them!What tips would you add?