So you are finally done with high school and planning to join college? Well, as much as this can be a thrilling experience, there is a need to get prepared for the new life. Talking of preparation, you would not miss to talk about finances and how to go about it while in your studies. Understandably, most students joining college may not think much about the need to budget for school life. Whether you are paying for your tuition on your own, with the help of your parents or through Financial Aid, college can be an expensive experience and only students that take measures to ensure they use their funds prudently will make the cut.
While financial aid from the government may be a welcome relief to most parents, others still have to dig deep into their pockets to finance their children’s education. While some will do so through their savings, others find solace in personal loans that come in handy during this time from a loan companies such as OpenLoans. So as a student, you will be doing your parents a huge favour by practicing better finance management through your higher education life. The following are some of the notable money management tips you can go for as a college student.
1. Create a practical budget
While in high school, you may have adopted a carefree life and would spend whatever came your way courtesy of your parent’s generosity. Once you transition to higher learning, however, money becomes crucial more than ever and you have to stay conscious of spending. Take your time to create a budget by mapping out all your income stream, including funds from your parents. As a freshman, you may need the guidance of your parents on this. They will help you categorize your spending based on their experience. The best you can do is try as much as possible to stick to this budget.
2. Be on the lookout for student discounts
As you transition into college, you will need to learn the value of discounts that come your way courtesy of your student card. Explore all the possible ways that your educational status grants in terms of saving money. Whether this comes from local venues, vendors, restaurants or any other service near school vicinity, freshman students are offered huge discounts. Before you but anything for your daily use, take your time to shop around and check out discounts that may be available courtesy of your status. This may seem insignificant to some but at the end of the day, you will have saved a big deal.
3. Stay conscious with credit cards
Going to college can seem like being in a vast ocean with no shore in sight. This is made worse by the ‘sharks’ in this ‘ocean’ in the name of credit card companies. These companies will take advantage of freshmen based on the notion that they are cash-trapped and will jump right into the idea of some ‘easy’ money coming their way. Based on this, you should stay conscious of these tricks and avoid falling into their traps. It may seem like a helpful hand but in the end, you will be left with a huge debt to deal with.
For better approach, talk with your parents or other experienced students on the best credit card to go for. As a rule of thumb, you should never sign up for a student credit card on whim if you are a freshman. Instead, you are better off discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the various cards available. You can then endeavour to set a reasonable low spending limit. On the other hand, you may simply look for cards with cash back rewards or points.
4. Set financial limits
We understand that college life can be full of pressures from your peers to party and have a good time. This may involve extravagant spending on unnecessary trips or gadgets. However, there is more to college life than living lavishly. Soon, you will realize that the funds are limited and will run out sooner than you expected. So it is much advisable that you realize your limits in terms of spending to help you budget much prudently.
To be on the safe side, cultivate the art of setting financial limits and sticking by them as much as you can. This, however, does not mean that you limit yourself in terms of having fun; budget realistic limits for both essential and luxury items.
5. Avoid full-price textbooks
Textbooks has always been a major spending item for students in higher learning institutions. It may be true that some professors update or change textbooks every year but most of them would basically use the same for several years. In this regard, it may not be prudent to shop for books before the class starts. There are various ways you can adopt to save on textbooks. Some of these may include shopping on Amazon or eBay. You can also search for posts on college bulletins or even check out student-focused websites like Chegg where you can rent textbooks. You will be surprised at how cheap this method is and with time, your access to essential textbooks will be less stressful on your pocket.
College life can be interesting without necessarily spending lavishly. By cultivating the art of budgeting, your college life will be much easier. This will not only save your parents the strain of having to go an extra mile to fund your higher education life. On the other hand, you may also see the need to seek for part time employment to help supplement your budget. Lucky for you, there are a myriad of opportunities that you can opt for, thanks to the advent of the internet. You can get involved in a part time online job that gives you the flexibility to study and work at the same time without compromising on any of them. With time, you will be surprised at how easy it is to go through your study life through juggling education and work.