If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering CDL school. One of the biggest hurdles for attending CDL school is paying for it. Luckily, there are many methods a CDL seeker can use to effectively budget for CDL school.

Budget early

If you are fortunate enough to realize your career goal well ahead of time, start budgeting early. For instance, high school age students can start saving money with their part-time jobs during the school year and full-time jobs during the summer.

Budgeting is still possible even if you are out of school and working full-time. One benefit adults have over younger CDL seekers is that they probably have a full-time job allowing them to save more money quickly. Calculate how much money will need to be saved toward CDL school based on your current income and when you wish to enroll.

Lay low during your class

If you’ve saved for CDL school, but haven’t quite saved enough to pay for it fully, it’s a good idea to live a low-budget lifestyle while you’re in CDL school. To start, this will help you save money to live off of while you’re searching for a job after graduation, and you will be able to pay off loan interest accumulated during school, which we will address shortly.

Take care of your living expenses

You cannot pass CDL school if you have no place to live. Plus, the financial burden placed upon you by missing payments during the 2 months of schooling will weigh you down after graduation. Budget out your living expenses first and go from there. You can always take out a student loan.

Strategize your loan repayments

If you decide to take out a small loan for CDL school, make sure to pay off the interest that occurs. Most student loans use compounding interest that builds up daily based on the total amount you OWE, not the loan’s amount. If you have a $3,000 loan with 4% interest, it will grow by 4% of what is owed which increases daily based on the interest rate. The interest is usually small but can be very problematic as it builds up.

Loan repayments for CDL school do not begin until 2 full months after graduation. Even though borrowers have a 2 month grace period, compounding interest will still accumulate before the first payment. If you can, pay off this interest so it does not continue to climb.

When you finally begin loan payments, try to pay it off as quickly as you can without breaking the bank. Knowing your interest rate is the most important part. If you have multiple loans, pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first. This must be done with extra money, as each loan will require its own start date. Lenders do not care about your other loans, only what you owe them.

It’s worth noting that shelling out all of your extra money is not always the best long-term strategy. For instance, if you start a 401(k) or any other form of investment, compare the interest rates of your loan to the growth rates of your investment(s). Most loans have an interest rate from 4-6 percent, whereas investments carry a growth rate from 8-12 percent. This means an investment is likely to outgrow the accumulating interest. Pay off what is due, but find a balance.

Check with other options

CDL school can seem costly, but the job market it opens CDL holders up to is worth it. Luckily, the class costs roughly as much as an inexpensive but reliable used car. If you want to avoid the compounding interest, you can always take out a personal loan. The only difference is you will have to pay it back immediately with no grace period, but you can avoid the costly compounding interest while paying off your loan for months in advance.