By Lauren | March 16, 2015 | 0 Comment
The struggles of being a poor, starving student are real. The even bigger struggle when moving away from home and juggling your own finances, is the lack of knowing just how to cope on your own financially. As money conscious as you may be when living at home with your parents, there’s lots of things you don’t factor in because you have been used to not paying for them your entire life (rent, food, hydro, etc.).
Here are some tips for saving money to do the fun stuff in college:
Set a budget
This is the most important step that should be done before heading out on your own, but can also be created whenever you want to kick your butt into gear and save money. Set a budget to help you keep track of what you will spend your money on. This will give you an idea of how much you should be spending in each area. Make sure to include all expenses; rent, utilities, cell phone bill, food, entertainment, gym memberships, etc.
Stick to it
The hardest part is actually sticking to the budget that you lay out for yourself. Most people have the mentality that if the money is there in your account, why not spend it? In order to keep yourself on track and make sure your rent check isn’t going to bounce at the end of the month, stick to your budget religiously. If you decide you want to spend more money in one category, then take that money out of another category. If you absolutely need to go out and party with your friends one week, then realize you may not be able to get full groceries that week. This will help you quickly learn how to prioritize.
Find hacks that will save you money
Where can you cut costs and save more money for the things you actually want to do. There are so many simple changes you can make that will help your bank account not go into the negatives. For example: make your coffee in the morning instead of buying it, find free fitness classes on campus or around your area and cancel your gym membership, start walking places or taking public transit instead of driving or taking a cab. Small changes can make a big difference!
Start a savings account
When I was in school I had a school bank account which I used to pay all my living expenses and school related things, and then I had a personal spending account which I would use for fun and entertainment. This helped me keep my money separate and also was a way to make sure I always had money in the account that paid all the bills. Now that I’ve graduated I’ve converted my two accounts into a living/necessities spending account, and a travel account.
Get a part-time job
Many students fear they will be too busy to balance a part-time job and full-time school, but you’ll soon begin to realize that as a student you really do have a lot of time on your hands. Get a flexible part-time job that will help you earn money and build your job experience. This will also make budgeting easier as you’ll have a steady flow of money coming in instead of having to live off your summer earnings only.
What are you tips to help students save money and make sure they’re being financially responsible?