Top Personal Finance Strategies for College Students
College students are typically considered to be poor money managers but the truth is that most college students live on a budget and if not, they can get themselves into a cycle of debt.The key to financial success is to be aware how you spend your money and to cut out the bad habits. You should be responsible for your money. That’s why you need to determine how you should spend it or save it. It goes without saying you should live within your means. These easy personal finance tips will help you stretch your dollar to last the entire semester. The sooner you learn to control your finances, the happier you will become in the future.
Start with the budget
Every budget is based on accurate accounting so you track your expenses to understand how you spend every dollar. It can be easier if you use some templates, online money-management tools or apps that will allow you to control your spending habits during a certain period of time. You will have a good idea about your expenses, you will be able to build a budget for every month. In this way, you will be able to track your income and expenses and reach some financial goal, for example, save money for “my dream vacation in Venice”, a spring break trip or a semester of study abroad. A good idea is to get help from financial institutions which offer useful services for students such as debit cards, checking/savings accounts, online banking, and financial competency education.
Avoid unnecessary expenses
It’s crucial to avoid unnecessary expenses. Wondering how you can do that? Here are some suggestions.
- Never make impulse purchases.
- Don’t purchase new books because you can find used one for a reduced price.
- Pay your bills strictly on time and you’ll avoid late fees.
- Never go shopping when you are hungry because you can spend more money on things that you actually don’t need, for example, junk food.
- Use public transportation, ride a bike or walk instead of having a car.
- Give up smoking and drinking because they are bad for your health and very expensive.
- It’s cheaper to eat in the campus cafeteria than to eat out.
- Go to a campus gym because many of them offer membership for students at a reduced rate or for free.
- Sell things (tech items, furniture, clothes) that you no longer need. You may use such sites as Craigslist or Poshmark.
- Look for places where you can take advantage of student discounts or for a free stuff. You can find good deals for clothes, books, pizza, and plane tickets.
Get a job
Having a part-time job will allow you to earn extra income and pay a great portion of your bills. Many colleges have work-study programs that will allow you to work on a flexible schedule, taking into account your studies. You may find flexible positions in a health clinic, library or commissary.
You can also find jobs with part-time hours off-campus in retail or in restaurants or try to find a job related to your studies. In this way, you will easier make contacts in the field. If you work full-time in summer, you can start saving money that you can use during the school year. This will help you get used to working and saving.
While in college, you should learn to control your personal finances to be able to manage your student loan debt you will have to deal with after you graduate. Personal finance skills will help you lay a solid foundation for your future financial success.