Entering college can be a stressful yet rewarding period with self-exploration and independence from your parents. With this newfound freedom comes responsibilities, such as financial obligations and smart money management.
Here are some tips to help keep you stress-free about money and leave plenty left over to make new memories with friends.
Create a budget.
While a budget isn’t the most fun or enjoyable thing to make, it’s helpful in reorganizing priorities and seeing where your money goes every month and how much you’ll have left over for the fun stuff. You’ll get a broader look at your finances and hopefully set up some new spending habits for yourself in order to achieve your financial goals – no matter how small they are while you’re in school.
Be wary of credit cards.
Credit cards are helpful in establishing credit, but can get tough to handle when too much is charged and you’re unable to pay back the amount in full each month. While building credit and learning how to responsibly spend money, don’t bite off more than you can chew by charging a lot of purchases on a credit card. Be wary and read the fine print on credit card applications to see the perks offered, interest rate, credit limit and what the requirements are for the card.
Get a campus job.
If you worked while in high school and are disciplined in managing your schoolwork and studies, a campus job is a great way to save money, get extra spending money, and not rely 100% on student loans. Getting your first paycheck will be amazing, but make sure you have that budget in place to see where your money will be going.
Take advantage of student discounts.
Being a student really does have its perks, because many businesses offer hefty student discounts. Make sure to ask at movie theatres, retail stores, and restaurants. Also check out websites like StudentBeans.com and Unidays.com for more ways to save. Being a student does not mean you have to pay full price – ask around and you’ll be surprised how many places will accommodate for you.
Explore textbook options.
There are a multitude of options these days to get your textbooks for less. For some classes, you might be required to purchase a textbook brand new, but don’t be afraid to explore other avenues for the ones you don’t. You can buy used books, check with your friends who took the same class to see if they still have their textbooks, rent the textbook on Amazon, find the textbook at cheaper sites like Chegg.com, or even look at your school library. There are many options to save money on one of the most expensive aspects to being a college student, so make sure you use them!
Use a planner.
A planner is good for more uses than just to see what is happening that day, week, or month. Planning events that you want to go to and have to spend money at is a great financial tip. Write down events that you know will be happening around campus, clubs you are part of, or even events around the city such as concerts. Next to it write what you think you will spend per event. You’ll gain an insight to your expected spending and potentially spend less money on certain events to save for a bigger or better one.
Simply save money.
It’s not always fun to put money away into a savings account where you can’t touch it, but it is a necessary step to making smart financial decisions for unexpected surprises or for future plans. While in college, it’s harder to put money away to save, but try and stay consistent; a little goes a long way.
It’s scary and exciting to be on your own as a college freshman. Money can be a source of stress for some, but these seven tips will really help you get in the habit of saving. Establish your savings and good habits now to create financial success now and in the future.