Finishing your degree is hard work no matter your circumstances, but taking classes while on a tight budget and working 40+ hours a week is another story. Time management, determination, and forward planning are all key components that you must employ to get that degree. Here is how you can work to make it all happen. 

Earn your associates from a community college first

Take classes and earn your associate degree from a community college first. This option is both budget and time friendly. Community college classes are often less than half the price for a semester than a university. Plus, it is a smaller atmosphere which allows for more communication with professors. Also, sometimes classes from community colleges can be easier. This means you can manage more and take more classes at one time. 

Take online classes

Online classes are great. Don’t overlook them. Sure, you do not get the “college experience,” instead you get flexibility. Online classes allow you to work at your own pace and fit into the complexities of your schedule. 

Minimesters and summer classes are your friend

“Minimesters” are about four weeks long. They usually take place right before and after each regular semester. They are a great way to earn credits fast. These classes can be a bit more difficult. They are very fast paced, but busy work is primarily cut out. Instead, the focus is on the intention of the class. Summer classes are often the same way. They are shorter, but longer than “minimesters”, and they are a great avenue to help earn your degree in less time. 

Use a planner

Use a planner to help manage your time, keep up with assignments, and stay organized. If you take online classes, you can easily lose track of assignment due dates. A planner can be a lifesaver. 

RELATED: Save, Spend, Splurge: 6 Planners For Every Budget

Cut out discretionary spending

Taking classes is expensive. Whether you take out loans or pay up front, staying on budget is a must. Cutting out discretionary spending is the first way to save money. I know, it is so hard to not swing by Starbucks on the way to work, go get your nails done, or drive through Chick-Fil-A on the way home. However, it is so worth it in the end when you have your degree in hand and stayed on budget in the process.

Focus is key

Distractions, procrastination, and life can sometimes get in the way of school, work, and budgeting. It would be a lot easier to just put school off, not stick to a budget, or slack at work because you are overwhelmed. However, if you truly stay focused on your goals, you can do it. It will be hard, but it will be so worth it! 

Makenzi C