If you get a student loan and you really think hard about it you’ll know that you shouldn’t take out as much as you possibly can. You’ll figure out that it’s important to take out as little as you possibly can. But how can you figure out that amount of money? And what should you do with the loan money that you do get? There are actually a few different things to think about and you’ll need to consider all of your expenses in order to make it work properly.

What You Need

So the first question to ask yourself is what you really need. Think about all of the expenses that you have in a year from medical bills and gas to food and lodging. All of these things are going to be important while you’re away at school (or even if you’re going to stay where you already are and attend school). Now this still isn’t the number that you want to use when you’re getting your student loans and it’s not the number that you really are going to need at all when you think about it.


Look at all the expenses that you just listed and think about where you can cut some things. Do you have cable TV? Well that’s one thing that you can cut. Going out to eat all the time is something you can cut as well, it’s going to help you save some money (and you’ll actually end up getting even more food). You can also cut down on some of the extras and things that you do outside of school and outside of the house. Remember you’re going to have a lot of necessary expenses so you won’t have as much money left over for the extras.


What you absolutely need is a place to stay, food in your refrigerator, hygiene products, enough clothes to get you through the week, gas to get you to school and back, some school supplies, tuition, and books. Everything else is just something that you want. It’s not actually necessary and that means you can cut down on the amount of money you spend in those other areas. You also won’t want to count those other areas when you create your final budget for how much money to take out in a loan.


Calculating Your Needs

Now that you have a list of all your expenses and you’ve pared down that list to only the things you absolutely need, you’ll be ready to look at the list again. Now add up the amount of money you absolutely need in order to survive from one month to the next. Then make sure that you multiply that out to last for the entire school term. Remember, loans come once a term so you need to make sure you’re getting what you need at the beginning of that term and not waiting until later.


Once you know what you actually need you’ll be able to look at how much you actually have. Consider the amount of income that you have coming in and then look at the expenses you’ve deemed absolutely necessary. How much of those necessities can you cover with your income? You should be able to cover all basic living expenses at least. That means the only things you shouldn’t be able to cover with your income are tuition and books. If you aren’t able to cover all of your other expenses you may want to look at them again to make sure you really need everything on the list.


If you’re really lucky, you’ll also be able to cover some of your tuition and books as well as the other expenses that you have. If you can’t cover any of your tuition and books then that’s too bad but it happens to a lot of people. After all, your income is planned out to cover the things that you need. So just make sure that you’re coming up with the absolute lowest number you can to take out in the form of loans. Remember, you’re going to have to pay that money back at the end of your school years.


In the End

The important thing to do is make sure you’re not taking out too much money. You want to be able to live your life but you also want to make sure that you’re going to live your life after school as well. So sure, add some extras into your budget and make sure you have enough money for them. But don’t take out loans that are supposed to cover those extras. If you do you’ll only be hurting yourself later on. Once you finish school you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for things you can no longer enjoy (like the new clothes you bought and wore out two years ago).


Think about all of these things and make sure that you’re stretching the money you have coming in as income rather than the money that you’re getting from a student loan. You’ll enjoy that pizza a lot more if you pay for it right now then you will if you pay for it three years from now (and have to pay interest). Plus, you’ll be able to have a lot more fun if you actually make the money than if you just get it as a loan because with income, you’ll always have more. If you still need to get your loan then check out this application to find out more.


I know that I definitely took as little as I could with my student loans. I had the added bonus of being at home which means that I didn’t have to buy my own food or pay for lodging but I did pay for all my own extras and my own gas with my income. I was able to do plenty with my money and I must say I’m definitely happy I kept my loans as small as possible while I was in school. It’s helping me pay for the things that I really want now that I’m done with school and paying off the loans. If you don't believe me then check out this article that talks about more things you should consider when getting your student loan. Also, find out more about getting free help with this article on the FAFSA Form.