The best personal finance strategies for college students: Most of the college students are poor money managers. It’s not their fault though. Most of them are never taught finance management skill. But it does not change the truth either that some of them live on a tight budget, and those who can’t manage it may fall into the viscous cycle of debt. The primary key to financial independence is awareness of how you spend your money and get rid of bad habits.
Take the responsibility of your money. For this purpose, you will need to determine how you should spend it or save it. With the help of the following tips you will be able to stretch your dollars to the last semester. I’ve seen plenty of students who got decent pocket money in the starting of the month, but thanks to their extravaganza habits they survived the last week of every month barely. On the contrary, there were some students with really tight budget but managed to pass the college without taking either small or large debt.
First things first, budget.
The key to budget planning is accurate accounting. It enables you to track your expenses –how you spend every penny. To make the work easier, look for a template, or online budget planner, or an app to track your expenses. Yes, this is going to take some work, but trust me, in the long-term this is going to save hundreds of dollars if not thousand. After populating these templates for a month, you will have a proper idea about your expenses. Now, build a monthly budget from the data you’ve generated. You will be able to track your expenses and build some financial goal.
This is a really good habit and will help you until your last breath. For additional help go to the financial institutions which offer financial services for students such as debit cards, checking/savings account, online banking, and financial competency education.
No more unnecessary expenses
To save money, steal it from every nook and corner you can (not literally). While it’s a bad habit, you can very much control it with these tips.
- Never make purchases in impulse.
- Buy used books rather than new books, the content material remains same. You’re not going to read those books once the semester is finished. Moreover, you could save anywhere from 50-70% on old books.
- Avoid late fees caused by late bill payments.
- Don’t go for shopping when you are hungry, you will end up spending more than you should on junk food etc. Learn to cook online, this is another good habit. You can eat anytime you want, and the food will be hygienic and healthy in comparison to the restaurant food.
- Use public transportation for travelling rather than having a private vehicle.
- Give up on smoking and drinking because they hurt your health and finances.
- Eat food in subsidized college cafeteria than eating out.
- Go to campus gym as they offer cheaper memberships to students or even free.
- Sell obsolete things like old books, old bicycle, old toys etc.
- Look for places where you can take advantage of student discounts. Good deals are available for clothes, book, pizza, and plane tickets.
Nothing is wrong with a job
Having a part-time job will be better for earning some extra income and pay your bills. Most of the colleges in US have work-study programs to let students work in a flexible schedule. You may get a position at health clinic, library or commissary.
You can also find jobs with part-time hours-off campus in retail or in restaurants or as a research intern. The last option is particularly good for making contacts in the field.
When you are in college, you should learn to hold control of your personal finances for paying off your student debt after you graduate. Personal finance skills at an early age lay the foundation of financial independence in adult years.