Student life is memorable because it is the time when a person has the most energy and least number of responsibilities. The years spent in college and university are equal parts challenging and fun; it’s the time to discover yourself, go on adventures, and prepare for pursuing a career of choice. The only things you are bound to lack in are time and money, i.e. you don’t have enough spare hours to do it all and your income is limited. Many students struggle with managing money shortly after transitioning to adulthood, which is understandable. It is commonplace to underestimate one’s living expenses and overlook the implications of debt. Subsequently you go looking for financial management tips.
Your income may constitute money from a student loan and part-time job; some students get scholarships and/or financial aid from parents, which makes life easier. If you’re not among the handful of lucky ones, know that the less privileged are destined to excel at financial management. Here’s 7 financial management tips on how you can survive the student life whilst taking on minimum debt:
1. Stay Close to Campus
Accommodation and utility costs can take up a huge portion of your monthly income. If you don’t get a place to live on campus, find a place nearby. Look for student hostels or apartments in sharing that are at walking distance. An independent room sure sounds ideal, but affording one is usually impossible or impractical for a student. Staying close to campus will diminish or eliminate transportation costs and save your valuable time.
2. Live on a Budget
If budgeting is an unfamiliar concept to you, it is high time to get acquainted. You may start by calculating your regular expenses; note down how much you spend on rent, food, conveyance, and other facilities every month. If these expenses exceed your gross monthly income, you will have to cut down costs. You may have to give up certain luxuries and shift towards a cheaper lifestyle. You should be able to save a little every month to keep in your emergency fund.
3. Shop Smart
Buying the cheapest brands, stocking up items on sale, and availing student discounts are some basic strategies to shop smart. When you go grocery shopping, resist the temptations to fill up your trolley with all the junk food and snacks that catch your eye. If you go shopping on a full stomach, you are less likely to be enticed by processed and readymade food items.
4. Use Credit wisely
If you recently turned 18 and received your first credit card, do not let this power bedazzle you. The balance on your credit card is not free money, so don’t waste it on goods you can live without. Paying bills through your credit card is the easiest way for building credit, but you need to understand some ground rules. Avoid using more than 30% of your credit limit and always pay your credit card bill before the deadline; this way you can prevent accumulation of debt and readily develop an excellent credit score.
5. Go Green
College books can be pretty expensive, so settle for second-hand ones or go digital; when you say no to freshly printed overpriced books, you discourage the manufacture of new paper and ease the burden on natural resources. You can also save your money and the environment by investing in reusable and recyclable stuff instead of buying disposable products.
6. Don’t splurge on Food
Many students don’t have the time and skill to prepare meals for themselves, which is the leading cause of their high monthly expenses. The money they spend on take-out and/or eating out each month is surprisingly outrageous. Buying several cups of coffee and spending on fast food every day is indeed convenient, but this habit empties pockets quickly. Learn to make your own coffee and cook a few basic dishes to eat healthier and cheaper.
7. Stay Clean
Most students love to party and get high, but that kind of lifestyle is neither cheap, nor beneficial in any other way. Alcohol intoxication will deteriorate your thinking skills and judgment. Stay away from drugs. You get into trouble with the law and get expelled if you do something reckless. If you happen to be caught driving with/under influence in the US Atlanta Georgia, please do not hesitate to seek legal help. Stay sober and focus on your education if you wish to maintain good grades and financial conditions.
These financial management tips specifically for students are widely applicable wherever you may be. Follow them and your future self will thank you for it. Remember, future money is expensive. The lesser debt you have by the time you graduate, the better.
John Adams is a paralegal and lifestyle blogger who concentrates on health/fitness, life hacks, bankruptcy law, and financial management. He encourages readers to fight for their rights and overcome obstacles holding them back. He believes that every person can improve the quality of his/her life by thinking positive and making better choices.