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A college student’s income is usually a combination of money from their student loan, scholarship, minimum wage part-time job, and parental assistance. Many students do not qualify for a scholarship, and their student loan primarily covers tuition; not everyone’s parents have the resources to support them through college. Therefore, most students are on a tight budget, and saving money in college is a mission impossible. If you have expensive taste, it is time to get accustomed to ‘slumming it’. While the idea may sound dreadful, let me assure you that this is part of the adventure called ‘college life’.
Financial management is all about spending practically and cutting down unnecessary expenses. You can be frugal from the very beginning and never worry about going broke. Learning to budget will help you get through this and many other difficult times in life.
Financial Management Tip #1: Establish a Budget and Stick to It
Your income is limited, but it should cover all your monthly expenses. Living independently is a new thing for college students, which is why they easily underestimate their living costs. If you don’t figure out a feasible budget, you will make life harder than it has to be.
Financial Management Tip #2: Shop Smart
You don’t have the privilege to splurge when you’re aware that paying back student loans is going to take many years. When you decide to go shopping, always look up or ask for student discounts. When picking up groceries, do not leave on an empty stomach unless you want to spend your entire paycheck on processed junk food.
Financial Management Tip #3: Learn to Cook and Brew
Knowing how to brew your own coffee and preparing some basic meals is crucial to surviving college. Forget about overpriced lattes and sandwiches from your favorite food chain if you want to be able to eat for the entire month.
Tip #4: Limit Outings
Dining at restaurants and going out for recreation with friends is a part of college life. However, such amenities should only be reserved for special occasions. Try twice a month rather than a few times a week.
Financial Management Tip #5: Stay Sober
Staying sober will prevent DUI/DWI crime and save you a great deal of money through college. Students who binge drink, do drugs, and smoke pot damage their health and academic prospects. That stuff that gets you high does not come cheap or free, and your tuition fee goes down the drain when you don’t attend lectures due to being hungover.
Tip #6: Share Accommodation and Utilities
Having a roommate or two to split the rent and utility bills with helps a ton. You and your roommate can purchase several combined products and services to save even more money.
Financial Management Tip #7: Don’t Compete with the Rich Kids
Do not feel intimidated by college kids who are backed by filthy rich parents. Wearing designer clothing and showing off the latest gadgets does not make them cooler than you. Concentrate on acquiring an impressive GPA instead, and have pride in being thrifty.
Tip #8: Go Green
Always opt for digital copies over paper ones where possible. College syllabus books are quite expensive, and they become useless after the semester. Seek used/old books and rentals to save money while protecting the earth’s natural resources. Reuse and Recycle as much as possible, rather than buying new stuff.
Financial Management Tip #9: Don’t Abuse Credit
The rule of thumb for credit is never to use more than 30% of your limit. If you have a credit card, use it wisely or only keep it for emergencies. If you max out your credit and don’t pay the bill in time, the lender will impose a higher interest rate and accumulate debt.
Tip #10: Don’t Stray far from Campus
Staying close to campus will help eliminate or diminish transportation costs. You don’t need a car while you’re in college, so stick to traveling on foot, riding a bike, or taking the bus. Find a place nearby to work or volunteer during spring break, national holidays, and summer vacation. Planning an extravagant trip is likely to consume all your savings and then some.
John Adams is a paralegal and environmentalist who loves to travel, read, and write. His blogs are mainly focused on personal injury and sustainable living. He believes that all of us can improve the quality of our life by incorporating positive thoughts and actions.