You need money to fulfill your business, education, or real estate goals. The best option for each of these is a government grant. But sometimes you may either be waiting for grant money or find that you need to supplement the free government grant. What do you do?

One of the next best choices is a low-interest or no-interest loan. Here’s why these are great deals for you. One of the facts of economics is that the use of money over time has value. If you can use somebody else’s money for little or no extra cash out of your own pocket, you have gained something.

The government often makes low-interest or no-interest loans available for the sake of encouraging some desirable outcome. Some examples are education loans, loans to first-time home buyers, or loans for business development and growth. In many cases, it costs them more to make the money available to you, than what you’re paying to use it. This means that it is a subsidy, which is a form of government grant.

And it gets even better. Often, these government loans are forgiven if you fulfill some conditions, such as working in a particular job after graduation, stay in a house for a length of time, or agree to hire new employees. When that happens, the loan becomes an education grant, a real estate grant, or a business grant.

So if you decide that you want to ignore loans in favor of grants only, you may be shortchanging yourself and leaving money on the table that you could have had.