College debt is one of the top stresses for college students. The average student debt now is close to $30,000.
Barry University's top financial aid expert said college students can make changes that will save thousands.
"Students today are not really budgeting at all. Their budget consists of spending money until it's gone," said Dart Humeston, Barry's Director of Financial Aid.
Humeston said students across the country are digging themselves into a financial hole. He teaches students at Barry how to manage their money.
His message is simple: Live like a student.
"Students don't want to live like students when they're in college. They still want to maintain a certain lifestyle. They want their cars, their cellphones. We all like to party at South Beach but the student loan should really be to pay for your education."
His top tips for students are:
- Work hard to graduate on time. Every extra year on campus can cost you $4,000 to $8,000 a year.
- Get a roommate. Over four years that can save you as much as $18,000.
- Pay at least the interest on your loan while in school, it will remind you that you have a debt waiting.
- Most important: Only borrow what you absolutely need.
A formula some advisers recommend: Calculate your anticipated first-year income and don't borrow more than that.
Humeston also said if you can keep up your academics, even a part-time job can dramatically cut debt.