Set a budget and stick to it.
Apply for every scholarship you can. (at the local electrical company, cable etc.)
Take your lunch to school and work, it is more expensive to eat out and buying from the vending machine.
I don't drink coffee but for those who do, brew your own the $2.00 here and there adds up (it is the leak which is not noticeable).
If you must shop for clothing, try the thrift store.
Buy food on sale (the ones you actually eat).
Potluck with friends (it keep you connected with friends and fed as well).
Movie night at your house! cost less than at the theater! Buy the store popcorn either the air pop and flavor how you want or the box that has about 8 bags or more. You can even do both and mix them all together.
If you have kids, find friends who have kids or dogs and trade house sitting days. That saves on child care bills!
Take your kids to the lake and study while they enjoy the change. Yes that is free! and time spent away from the house.
Gas vouchers they help a great deal, especially when you have to travel for clinical.
I was determine to finish College without loans and continue with my bachelor in nursing (BSN). It started out ruff. In the semester before the last year was when I finally qualify for federal pell grant (financial aid). Some would say you have always qualified, however getting a loan was not on my list for qualifying for financial aid. Each year like clock work I would fill out my FAFSA and the star application for scholarships. I joined some clubs especially the clubs that offer scholarships to student those were at the top of my list because it was a win-win club. One can get some community work done and some students also gets scholarship. I would look for free stuff at school, such as free foods.
My day starts off with eating breakfast at home, taking my lunch to school then eating dinner at home. Yes it was boring but it saved me thousands of dollars for the year because I don't buy from the vending machine nor eat out. I lived on a very strict budget. My dinner was shared for my lunch for the next day or two. I shopped for foods on special only the ones I actually eat. Going out to the movies and party was placed on hold because my focus was to complete Nursing school.
Just being in school was a big struggle to keep up my grades up and balance work. Something had to give so I worked less hours to move myself forward. This ship sailed in some rough seas and then life kicked me in the rear, it put a break on my nursing classes which almost broke my heart, I was too determine to give up so I had a year off where I could not continue in nursing school. I continued with my plan via taking classes for my BSN because that was my end goal. I found a few university I was interested in attending and worked on the classes which would transfer to any of them. Yes I did not take a break even when forced to, life does not wait so I choose not to wait.
There is saying, "one fail when they give up", and I was not going to fail. I even took classes at other schools instead of my current school, because some classes were not offered at my current school and I had a plan to move forward. Things went well I completed the classes and was ahead of some on my classmates because my prerequisite was covered for the BSN. I had gotten some scholarships along the way and made great use of them all. I applied for anything I was able to apply for. Most passed me along the way, and I got one or two scholarships.
I recalled one of the time a scholarship was awarded to me then my school cancelled the scholarship, I was torn up. But I kept going and kept applying. During the entire time I also sent money to care for my parents each and every month. There was even several months my husband was unemployed. Therefore my income was the only source for our living. Just before I completed I was informed that I could get another scholarship but I will have to take another class, deal! I signed up for the class and I am waiting for it to start. When I was doing my exit with the financial aid officer it felt so good when she announced to another party, she is good, she does not have a loan! I finished college with my LPN first then, my AGEC-A, and my RN degree. Determination with a goal in mind or on paper is best to remind you what you are work for. When life throws a curve ball at you, you must proceed with your goal, you will fail if you stop! but when you continue it is a new game. That was how I completed Nursing school without a loan and had money left over.