As a college student, you are most concerned with spending time with friends, studying for that huge exam, finishing your 10 page research paper, and trying to find away to drown the noise of your ever-snoring roommate! With all this going on, often your finances are one of the last things you cross you mind. Unfortunately, not concerning yourself with a budget or money can be detrimental. Here are 5 quick and easy budgeting and savings tips for college students to help you spend wisely while still enjoy the activities and foods you love!
- Figure out how much money you have coming in each month. All college students have a different financial situation. Some work on campus jobs such as a work-study program. Other are fortunate enough to receive a school stipend or even money from their families each month. Estimate how much you are earning monthly so that you know how much money you will have to work with on average.
- Set a budget and divide into categories. Track your spending for a month to see where you spend your money most frequently. Then take the money you earn each month and allocate a specific, reasonable amount to each category you have defined such as food and dining, entertainment, shopping, toiletries, and more. This will show you where you could be cutting back as well as where you have some wiggle room. Also factor in any college related expenses such as textbooks or even tuition that can be a huge financial burden if you don’t plan ahead accordingly.
- Eat in the dining hall or prepare your own meals when possible. As a college student, eating out or order take out can account for a huge chunk of your budget every month. Instead of overpaying and wasting money, only have take out as a treat from time to time. Take advantage of your dining hall instead since you likely have a meal plan in place already. This will eliminate unneeded out of pocket expenses. Another option is to buy items at the grocery store and make your own meals such as pizza, popcorn, Chinese food and more. This will be more affordable as well as healthier!
- If you have a credit card use it wisely. This is not imaginary money– it is your real money! Treat your card responsibly. Only spend what you have at that time in your bank account to avoid overspending and owing more than you can reasonably pay back. Also, be sure to pay you credit card bill each month on time. At least pay the minimum, but ideally you should be paying for the entire balance each time to reduce additional fees, charges, and interest. Use online banking when possible to make keeping up with your credit card statements easier and more convenient.
- Lastly, it is essential that you have a savings account. Whether it is an actual bank account or cash you store away, you should always have some backup funds. At last a few hundred dollars saved will help you out in case of an emergency. You never know when unexpected expenses will come up. You may need to repair your car or have a health situation. Keeping extra funds will provide you with piece of mind so that you don’t have to worry when a emergency comes up.
All students in college have to develop a balance when it comes to their spending and finances. If you are an MBA student at a program such as Pepperdine’s at http://www.mbaonline.pepperdine.edu or a Freshman working towards your bachelor’s degree, money can be tough to manage properly. Using these tips will help you to ensure that you have money available to do the things you love without overdoing it or wasting money.