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Guide for College Students to Balancing Finances
If you are just starting in college, you might not have financial troubles just yet. But as the years go by, you would realize that managing finances gets harder. Apart from your tuition and accommodation, you also have to allocate funds for transportation, food, school supplies, toiletries, books, and other school projects. It is crucial that as early as now, you know how to balance your money. That way, you won’t have to apply for additional loans and have more debt.
We have here several financial management tips. These are not just applicable to college students, but most of the concepts can be used thereafter. So without further ado, let’s start learning how to control your money.
Evaluate Your Spending Habits
Before you can actually manage your money, you need to understand how much you have and your regular expenses. We recommend writing down everything you spend for a month. When we say ‘everything,’ this means even the smallest items like bottled water or daily gum supply. If writing isn’t for you, then download an app that helps you monitor your spending habits.
At the end of the month, review your list. Are there items that you can eliminate? Or maybe you are overspending for specific items. Be objective when evaluating your spending habits. Otherwise, it would be harder for you to change. Naturally, it’s not easy to break habits, but if you want better finances, then be ready for this challenge.
A good budget tip we learned from experts is to choose store-brand items. These are generally cheaper but with the same quality. Also, maybe it’s about time to have a shared account for your Netflix and other subscriptions. Paying the whole amount can be costly over time.
Prepare Your Own Meals
A lot of college students spend a significant part of their budget on food. They usually dine out or have food delivered right at their doorstep. But if you make your own food, you can save a lot of money.
Instead of ordering unhealthy meals, go for salad vegetables or nuts. In addition, you can make your own coffee instead of ordering from Starbucks. Always bring a water tumbler with you instead of buying bottled water.
Check with your landlord what appliances you can bring inside your dormitory room. Usually, they allow mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, rice cooker (where you can also cook beans or oatmeal), blender, or hot plate. Of course, you can’t bring a full kitchen in your dorm. But these things should help you make decent and healthy meals.
Take Advantage of Free School Events
This might seem like an odd tip, but we recommend that you maximize school events. More often than not, they offer free snacks. Of course, that’s just a plus. But it’s also a great venue to build your network.
Learn to Say NO to Weekly Parties
Remember, it’s ok to say no at some invitations, most especially if you have to spend money. Some college students enjoy weekly booze sessions. After all, studying can be exhausting.
However, think about the money you can save by not going. You can still have fun, such as watching movies in your dormitory or visit a local park and bring your homemade snacks.
Buy Used Books
College books are expensive but are important if you want to survive college life. So instead of buying brand new ones, look for second-hand books. You can check online as many college students are willing to sell their books for a lower price.
And if you are already done with your subjects, you can sell your old books and get extra funds.
Get Side Hustles or Start Selling Online
Apart from looking for ways to save money, you can also look for an additional source of income. If you still have spare time, you can search for online jobs. Maybe you can do ghostwriting or simple accounting services. If you are good with graphic design, then there’s also a big market for that.
You can even start looking for old items that you don’t use anymore. Sell it on ebay and get extra funds.
Again, this is not an overnight success. It might take several months before you can get used to this change of lifestyle. But in the long run, you will appreciate that you took this path.
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