You’re away from home. You got money on you, gas in your car, and wind under your wings. Where to go? What to do? How much will it cost? For the average college student, budgeting is kind of a new and scary thing that’s kind of hard to get at first. So if you’re still in the dark about how to manage your finance, check out these tips!
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Make A Weekly Budget
Worried that you might be spending too much? Don’t be! If you’re trying to be money smart, set a weekly budget for yourself! Budget for what you need (groceries, gas, rent, utilities, etc) and set aside a small allowance (takeout, the movies, etc) for the little things. Try to spend only what you set out for yourself and try not to go over.
Use Cash, Not Card
If you can help it, use cash. Not to be a party-pooper, but having physical money on hand helps to remind you that you have limited funds and prevents you from overspending (when you don’t have the money to). Treat cards (especially credit cards) as a reserve and try to use cash to pay for your purchases when you can. If you’re trying to curb your weekly spending, this is a pretty good way to do it!
Did Someone Say ‘Free’?
Looking for something fun to do without breaking the bank? Yeah, that’s always a challenge. But instead of blowing $$$ in one afternoon, look for fun alternatives that won’t be as costly. If you check your city’s website, there’s usually some cool events hosted by the city that you and your friend can check out for free (or for a small admission fee). The beach is usually a good option, especially if you live close. And if there’s a park near where you live, even better. It’s possible to have a good time without emptying your wallet! You just gotta use your brain and get creative!
It might be tempting to buy that expensive new thing as soon as it hits the market, but chances are that if you do, you might be punching a hole into your wallet. Instead, hold off on buying it until there’s a discount or sale if it’s not really a necessary purchase. You might even be able to get a better deal if you check online! And if you shop with promo codes and student discounts, you’ll save even more!
$200 for a textbook? No thank you! Many students already know that shopping for a brand new textbook is a sucker’s game because in a few years, the publishers will probably release the next edition with minimal changes for more or less the same price. Students will rent their textbooks from online retailers like Amazon or Chegg rather than shopping at their campus bookstore, but you want to go one step further, ask your classmates if they have an online version of the textbook (or look for one yourself if you know how to navigate the interwebs)!
This one is a no brainer. If you and a friend are heading to the same destination, why take two cars when you can just take one? Enjoy the company and save some gas along the way. However, be courteous and don’t make your friend front you for gas money if carpooling with them is a daily thing. If you carpool regularly to school or work with your friend, you might be saving money for gas for your car (if you have a car), but they won’t be. Don’t be that person that mooches off your friend’s goodwill. (;-;)
Keeping track of how you spend your money can be difficult (especially when you want to have a life but also pay your bills), but it is important if you’re planning to save up money or wanting to keep a nest egg for emergencies. And don’t worry if you find it hard to adjust at first. Keep at it and you’ll find that managing your money will be easy-peasy!