Can you work a job and go to school at the same time? Yes, but it takes commitment and a bit of juggling.
For some students, working while in college is a necessity; for others, it can be a way to build a résumé or earn extra cash. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know the ins and outs of working while you’re also attending school.
First, if you have a job, figure out how many hours a week you can work work, as well as how much time you can devote to meeting school demands. For example, if you want to earn more money and try to reduce your need for student loans (or reduce the amount that you borrow), think about working more hours. Managing a schedule with limited free time is a great way to prepare for your future. But remember, you may also need to take less classes to accommodate your work schedule.
Also keep in mind attending class part-time could delay your graduation, put a halt to earn a higher income, and even impact your eligibility for some federal aid. Tuition and fees could be higher for part-time enrollment.
You can opt to work less hours and maximize the benefit of your student loans by taking a larger class load versus taking the minimum requirements. By taking extra courses, you may be able to graduate sooner. On the flip side, you could take classes during the summer season to better balance work and school during the academic year. This could keep you on par for graduating on time. Generally, the longer it takes to finish your program of study, the more you will pay for your education in the long run.
Budgeting After Graduating
Be aware that your expenses will surely change after you finish school. For example, if you recently graduated, you most likely won’t be required to begin paying off your student loans for six months, but when that payment is added to your monthly expenses, it will have an impact on your budget.
When you leave school, you’ll want to update your budget to include student loan payments, new income and living costs. Leaving school can be a liberating and exciting time, but you don’t want to stop tracking and managing your finances once you leave the books behind.
Overall, once your schooling is complete and your life changes, you’ll need to reevaluate your income and expenses. That aside, your goals will change, too; you may consider buying a car, getting married, having children, or starting a business. All these changes will affect your budget so be sure you are tuned into your finances while reaching your goals.