Take a look at these tips for making the best financial decisions during your collegiate career

College is the next great frontier, where you’re released from your parental guardians and allowed new freedoms you’ve never enjoyed before. To boldly make decisions and explore the world outside of your home (in theory). Basically, you’re forced to do some adulting, and that means being financially responsible. But worry not adventurer! It may be dangerous to go alone; so here, take this:

1. Financial Aid

Financial aid is available, you just have to reach out and grab it. No matter your economic bracket, it’s an endeavor worthwhile. You might even stumble upon a Pell Grant, aka free money, and subsidized/unsubsidized loans, aka temporarily free money. The Los Angeles Film School also offers financial aid advisement. Which you can find here, and discover the opportunities available to you.

2. Apply for Scholarships

Thousands of scholarships go unclaimed every year. Especially in the entertainment capital of the world, where free money practically rains down on aspiring creators. Seriously, can you whistle? Are you left handed? Do you like Legos? There’s a scholarship out there for you. Student Scholarship Search is a great resource to try and find something that fits you. Spending an hour a day looking for and applying for scholarships can have huge gains adding to your wallet as well as your academic accolades.

3. Spend Time Making a Budget

If you do this already, congratulations! For the rest of you who don’t want red in your ledger, make sure you’re keeping track of your purchases. If you think you can wing this part of your life, you might need to rethink this – eating Ramen everyday isn’t a viable strategy. Investing 15 minutes of your time on monitoring your budget every week is guaranteed to result in a worthwhile return.

4. Be Food Conscious

Go grocery shopping, learn to cook efficiently, and be careful not to eat out too much. While lunch meetings and social outings might be a vital source to making the connections you need to completing your projects, eating a $10 meal by yourself between classes adds up quickly. You can save a couple $100 a week with the right grocery budget. Even where you a decide to shop can make a significant difference – you can purchase more for your money at Food for Less and Vallarta than you can at Whole Foods or Gelsons. Also, level up those cooking skills. All that saved money goes up in smoke if you burned your house down while making scrambled eggs.

5. Generic Brands for the Win

Here’s a truth bomb for you: While your mind might be hardwired by expert marketing and corporate brainwashing to purchase name brand products, it’s actually in your best interest to look into generic brands when it comes to everyday things such as cereal, juices, toothpaste, etc. Your college years are not the time to have refined tastes. Live humbly and work hard in order to reap the rewards later.

6. Find a Roommate

Rent accounts for the majority of your expenses as a new college student. Don’t let this bleed your budget dry. Forgo that one bedroom apartment for yourself and make a smart compromise. Find a roommate or two to cut down this essential cost. If you’re hoping to roommate with a fellow classmate but don’t know anybody, LAFS offers aid in that regard. Reach out to housing@lafilm.com for their continuously updated roomie list.

With these 6 financially savvy strategies, you’re equipped with the most important knowhow that will save you from a diet of ramen and couch surfing. Wield your wit and determination like the warrior you are and go forth and conquer.

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