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Financial Aid and More: 5 Ways to Spend

Mar 10, 2008
Your financial aid check is here - you can go to college! But what do you do with the leftover money, after tuition is paid? You can use for other expenses, college related one. I'll show you five.

Get Registered and Cover Tuition
Financial aid you receive always has to go for direct college costs first, like tuition. But that makes sense, since it is to go to school. After you handle those expenses, you have several approved ways to use the money you have received for school.

I looked it up and found that most universities offer an explanation of the the basics of what you can use your Pell grant or other financial aid money for. University of Oregon provided great budgeting information. Let's get started.

1. Your Place
Everybody needs a place to live. Your housing costs always qualify, because everyone needs a place to stay. You'll also have to pay for everything that goes along with it, like utilities. Costs in this category will include heat, power, water/trash, internet (a necessity these days), telephone, and satellite or cable.

And mortgage payments count, not just rent. You can use your financial aid to make mortgage payments, even more so for nontraditional students over 25, or if you own and rent to roommates. Just an idea that could help you get ahead on your future.

2. Medical, Dental, Vision and the like
Yes! Doctor bills: medical, dental, optical, disability and what you need to stay healthy. You know what else, your expenses for health insurance comes under the same heading. Paying for dental work and prescriptions, health care you need you can pay for with financial aid. To get to class, you have to be healthy. But pay tuition first.

3. Class Supplies
When you go to college, you need things. Textbooks, of course, but you'll need paper supplies for the printer, for your binders, and a few of the other things students carry, calculators, computers, maybe a few more pieces of technology. You won't buy the whole store, but some of that financial aid will have to go for all these items.

4. Transportation
To and from class requires a ride - a bus, a train, a bike, a car. Somehow you'll get to class every day, and the money for it can come from your financial aid package. Hey, don't go crazy and buy a full-size pickup with a hitch and a winch - or a Mercedes C-class. You can use some of your money for reasonable transportation to commute. If you can wait for a car, you'll be in less debt. If not, try to find a less expensive one. You have to go to school, so you get to spend some money on it.

5. The Last Category
The four categories above handle many of your basic expense, with one other major category left out. The last category includes many expenses you will have on a regular basis, to get your through the week.

The expenses in this category: day to day living expenses. You know, a latte, a bagel with cream cheese, a sub sandwich, or maybe new shoes. Paying for your daily food and other living costs fill out another approved set of expenses. But don't eat out every meal, and watch the prices on those new clothes. If you ever need to get a bit more financial aid later in the year, but you've put out $1000 per month on clothes just for you, you may have a difficult time adding to your loan. Or you'll just have a ton of debt, a problem in itself.

Enjoy school, and try to keep expenses down. But know that if you have financial aid money after tuition, you can still use if for basic school expenses. And finish. It's worth it.
About the Author
Need more info in your financial aid? Come to Beat-Tuition.com for more approved expense categories. And download my free short report on financial aid while you are there.
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