College is expensive. A lot of money is invested in getting a college education and some families have to get loans or grants in order to pay for their children tuition. Though college tuition is expensive enough, there are other expenses life throws at a student. There are rent, gas, food, books and general expenses.
As a college student, it is important that you learn how to manage your money while getting the most out of college. It is better to ration out your cash now than to find yourself constantly living off your last ten dollars. Here are a few tips that could help you get off on the right financial foot.
- Write down all of your expenses
Know how much you spend on each item. Many people spend without thinking, it starts from spending just $5, and then over time that small amount could add up to $100. When you keep track of your expenses and write them into categories such as food, phone bill, car payments and miscellaneous expenses it gives you an idea of how much you spend per month.
- Create a budget
Once you know how much your monthly expenses is, you can now organize your expenses and create a budget. A budget will help you set aside money for everything. This will help you plan your spending and overspending. Considering the digital age that we are in, I would recommend using an electronic application such as an online calculator or budgeting App to sort out your expenses and payments. This will help you separate your bills from one another, that way you can differentiate each bill payments.
- Know the difference between wants and needs
Wants: These are things you want and can live without them. They are not necessities. Examples are a new bag, new phone, new video game etc.
Needs: These are the things you need to spend money on like tuition, books, groceries etc.
- Do not spend unmindfully
There are times we spend money on things we don’t need. When budgeting, try and spend less on things which are not necessities. If it is not needed, then do not buy it. College student tends to cultivate a habit where they spend money eating out when they have food at home. Eating cooked food tends to save you a lot of money. Have a pocket, envelope or wallet set aside for unnecessary spending and only spend within the amount you have set aside. You need to set your priorities and find a way to cut your expenses.
- Ways to save money on certain things
There are a few ways you could save some money in your budget and they include;
- Purchasing used textbooks instead of brand new ones, these would help you save a few dollars.
- Make a meal at home instead of always eating out. Buying take outs from restaurants are easier and fun but it is a lot cheaper to make food yourself.
- Living alone may be expensive but living with a roommate is usually cheaper.
- Shop from stores where student discounts are available. Many places like a grocery store, movie theaters, online shops, and retail stores offer discounts to students with their college ID.
What use is a budget if you won’t use it? Really try to stick to your plan at least for a month-long trial. Your income should determine your budget and a student budget should always be flexible to adapt to the changing circumstances of college life. After a few months, you will be glad that you planned a spending structure instead of always living off your last dollar.