Tips on How You Can Manage Your Finances in College
College is an extremely stressful time both academically and financially. While the academic jump is not under your control, budgeting your finances is. Moving away from college is hectic, and this gives rise to a lot of unhealthy spending habits among students, especially freshmen. Even if you manage to acquire scholarships or financial aid, you need to remain wise about your spending habits.
So, let’s look at some of the ways you can handle your finances.
Set a Spending Limit
Even before college begins, you need to set a limit on your expenses. If your college is starting soon, then extravagant dorm decorations and new textbooks would sound appealing. However, you should realise that the next four to five years are going to be financially tough, so you need to save up all the cash. Even if you are spending your parents’ money, you must be careful.
Set a realistic limit since the beginning and follow it diligently. Slipping up for the first few months should not deter you from the cause. Ask yourself questions before spending like “is buying a new air-conditioner necessary?” This will help you develop beneficial habits.
Budget Your Finances
Many online applications allow you to list every transaction like a proper bank. For a college student, it is very difficult to write everything down and prepare spreadsheets. So, you can download applications like Mint on your phone and carry out budgeting efficiently.
Make a list of all the things you need for the month. Your items should include more grocery since it is better to invest in monthly food than spending hefty amounts on takeout’s daily.
List all the sources of income like part-time jobs, scholarships and even your parents’ money and ensure that a major part goes into your bank account for saving. If you have taken a student loan, make sure you store a significant amount every month to pay it off. Even though it is not due until after graduation, paying it off during college can save you a lot of trouble afterwards.
Take Part-time Jobs
Getting by in college becomes extremely difficult if you do not have an additional source of earning money. Usually, college campuses are flexible and even offer student jobs to make financial ends meet. While you can fund your social life with the money earned, do not go overboard with it. Instead, try to save up as much as you can so the next time the expenses of a pricey textbook are hurled your way, you can manage it without your parent’s help.
If you are an academically strong student, utilise your potential to offer your services as a Teacher’s Assistant or at an essay writing service to earn some good money.
Do not Borrow Extra Cash
Even though student loans are generous during college, ensure that you do not create a “debt trap” for yourself. Cut down on designer bags and fancy meals so that your life after graduation is stress-free. It is also important to go for student loans that can be easily paid off with your income.
During four years of college, extra courses and extracurricular activities might seem appealing, but spending excessive amounts on luxuries will cost you a lot. Utilise your means wisely and only when necessary. College concerts and cultural events are common occurrences during college, but they will only cause your debt to pile up. Studies have revealed that some students are not able to pay off their debt even after 15-20 years of earning. So, be cautious about your choices.
Look For Discounts
There should be no hesitation regarding looking for affordable things. Managing finances in college is not easy, so you should get used to looking for all the discounts available for students. Many places around your campus would usually offer a lot of cheap and affordable textbooks and food so make the most out of those opportunities. This will help ease down the monthly expenditures, and you can save more money for other ventures.
Get in the Habit of Saving
There is no definite guarantee of college students earning jobs soon after graduation. Therefore, try to save a maximum amount so you can support yourself through and after college. Set aside an amount every month and put it in your savings account. Initially, the amount does not have to be huge, but you need to be consistent.
When you learn to balance your budget, gradually increase the amount and cut down on expenses. An effective way is to save money in a bank account as that will help you improve financial management. Keeping the money in your apartment or dorm would cause you to spend it so open a savings account that will also profit you in the long run.
Avoid any Extra Cost
Most students leaving for college have little to no idea about skills like cooking and cleaning. This increases the frequency of ordering takeout’s and is the reason why college students almost always end up crossing their spending limits.
Pizzas on weekends and daily coffee might seem impossible to survive without, but you have to cut down their use gradually. Instead, learn how to cook or get instant food items for daily use. Brew your coffee and spend sensibly on laundry.
Additionally, professors usually assign expensive course books as suggestions that are easily available on websites or even in your libraries. So, always exhaust all the sources before going to a college store as they have usually attached additional costs.
We hope that these tips would assist you in managing your finances responsibly. While it is important to enjoy your college life, you should also consider the long-term effects of your expenses, especially if you are indebted.