Although college can be very expensive, a good budget plan can definitely help. Every year, freshman through seniors alike find themselves trying to balance the perfect budget to make it through college. It’s a great learning experience that teaches you how to make the most of it by staying within monetary limits. Budgeting is also a great goal you can try adding to your student resolutions list.
The following article includes some awesome Budgeting Tips for College Students.
Track Your Spending
Another great budget tip that can help you become more conscious is tracking your spending habits. Of course, it’s better if you use an online tracking system that will do this for you. Many banks do a great job of creating detailed reports that’ll show you what you spent your money on over the past month. Detailed reports can also help you create a budget plan that’s easy to stick to.
Spend Less on Textbooks
You don’t always have to buy books from your school’s bookstore. There’s actually plenty of online retailers that offer some amazingly cheap deals in case you’re hoping to save money. So, there’s no need to throw money away on new books because used ones do the same job. You can also opt for buying an ebook that can end up saving you a few hundred dollars. You also don’t have to buy books at all, you can rent them for cheap and return them once you get through the semester.
Think Twice Before Swiping Your Credit Card
College is an excellent time to start building credit. It’s important to remember that building credit doesn’t mean building debt. There are plenty of safe ways to start building credit without piling on debt. Remember, debt can affect your chances of buying a house, car, refinancing loans, and other large moves in the future. It’s best if you just think twice before you swipe your credit card next time!
Save a Weekly Minimum
Setting some money to the side each week is a great way to exercise budgeting tips and self-control. Whether you can put five dollars or 100 dollars into your bank account, make sure you save! These self-investments can help you in the future in case you ever need something to fall back on. Nobody has ever regretted saving up cash and remembering about it in the future.
Organize a List of Wants and Needs
Are your purchases really worth it or can they wait for another day? It’s easy to determine the list of things your needs and wants. Just ask yourself the magic question, “can I go a month without buying this?” If the answer is no, then it’s more than likely a necessity. If the answer is yes, you can plan on staying away from that purchase for a while. A weekly budget can help you limit how much you spend every time you go to the store and have an urge to buy.
Walk Anywhere You Can
It’s important to consider all the places you can walk to instead of driving. Your bank account will thank you for saving some gas. Walking can also benefit your health, so you’re really getting more than you can ask for. Besides, walking can also help you run into interesting people that may end up helping you in the future.
Buy Clothes During the Off Season or at Outlet Malls
Don’t worry about unaffordable clothes during your college years. The offseason is a great time to buy your favorite brands at lower prices. This is usually when stores are looking to empty out their inventories, so they sell tons of items at a discounted price. You can also find out if there are any outlet malls near your area. Outlet malls usually have popular brand stores that have amazing sales. These two options can help you save money while allowing you to afford the brands you love.
Take Core Classes At a Community College
Don’t pass out on the opportunity to save on student loans. If you’re not transferring out of the state you’re in, take your core classes at a community college and save a substantial amount of money. These courses are a lot cheaper and can earn you the same amount of credits as a university course. Just make sure to double check with a student advisor at your university or counselor before signing up for a community college. Not every institution accepts or weighs transferred credits equally.
Learn How to Say No
Let’s be honest here, most of your expensive dinners and outings come from hanging out with your college friends. There’s nothing wrong with saying no to a restaurant once in a while and enjoying a home cooked meal. Your friends will understand where you’re coming from and you might even help them save some cash too.
You can also suggest other restaurants that offer great deals and prices for college students.
Finding College Discounts
There are plenty of businesses that offer special discounts for the student community. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a restaurant or movie theater, that extra cash is always welcome. It’s a good idea to always carry your student ID around in case they ask you for some proof.
Don’t Spend on Music or Movies
Many college students don’t buy music anymore. Instead, they use free music services like Pandora and Spotify to listen to some good tracks. You can also do the same with movies by sharing a Netflix or Hulu account with your friends or family. Sure, it might not be cable, but these inexpensive entertainment alternatives never fail to amuse. There are also plenty of companies that offer free services and trials for college students.
Consider Testing Out of Classes
Why pay for a full course if you might already have the knowledge? If you’re fluent in a foreign language or have strong knowledge in a certain subject, chances are, you can test out of class. These college tests are several times cheaper than the course itself and can also save you a semester or two. Just remember to study up and you’ll do great. You can also check to see if there’s a study guide in case you do choose to test out.
Don’t Skip Class, Ever
After all, you are paying for your education! Skipping class can mean throwing hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars into the gutter. Some professors might not take roll, but you don’t want to risk missing valuable lectures because you want to sleep in, watch television, or play video games.
Use the Gym on Campus
Try looking into if you’re college has a gym or free fitness programs you can enroll in. Chances are that you’re already paying for it with your tuition costs. Some schools even offer free or reduced gym memberships for students. There’s nothing bad about getting fit without having to spend much out of pocket.
Try Campus Activities and Events for Entertainment
Every college hosts different events and activities for their students to enjoy. It might not be what you’re used to, but it doesn’t make it less fun. Student committees usually come up with some creative ways to get the party started during these events. Some campuses feature museums, arboretums, live performances, and other activities for free or low prices.
Learning how to manage your money can help you save thousands in debt before graduating. It all starts with implementing the basics and assuming responsibility for your future. Make sure to keep following our guide and you’ll be set for financial success even long after you graduate and start working as a professional.