Budgeting for College
Saving money for college is hard enough, but once you’re a student budgeting your money can become more difficult than you may think. With so many temptations out there as a college student it can be hard to save your cash as well as be able to pay any bills that may come your way. Even those students who like to party hard can still learn how to budget themselves accordingly so they can avoid money mishaps. With a few simple changes in lifestyle, college students should be able to stick to a budget and still be able to have fun with their friends.
Budgeting Your Money
As a college student it can be difficult to save money in order to pay for things like food and other necessities; and the temptation to spend on non-necessities is everywhere. But there are a few things you can do, however to save your cash for the things you need.
First, limit the number of dinners you eat on things like ordering pizza and hitting up fast food restaurants. Instead, buy groceries and prepare your meals at home or at your dorm. If you have roommates, maybe everyone can pool some money together weekly for food and you can share meals.
Credit card companies often prey on college students by offering them freebies and guaranteed approval. Avoid getting a credit card or have one for just emergencies – try to pay for most things in cash.
If you live on campus, you can usually walk or bike to class and other places. Not having a car is a definite money-saver. Carpool with friends if you plan to go somewhere farther off-campus.
Write down a list of the things you need to buy on a weekly or monthly basis, and then add their costs up. This will give you a clearer picture of where your money goes and what you need to save for. Try to avoid going out on weeknights, as this can be expensive. Your wallet and your body will thank you! Save your extra money and make plans to go out once in a while with friends rather than every other night. Track your money and balance your check-book and you’ll be surprised at how much money you spend versus what you can save.
Making & Keeping Money
Trying to be a full time student and make extra cash can be challenging, but there are many opportunities out there for students where they can make some extra cash. Check with your college and see if they’re hiring internally. Most schools have jobs available for students that will work around their busy schedule, which makes it much easier for you to balance work and study time.
Aside from a part time job, you can also use your creative skills to make extra money. If you are a writing or photography student for example, there are many freelance job opportunities out there that can help you make a few extra dollars. You can also look for internships that may be available. While some internship programs are unpaid, there are some that do pay, and it will be a great addition to your portfolio and resume.
Once you’ve determined how you will make extra money, it is important to then hang onto it and not spend too much. Create a savings account or even an IRA while you’re young, and then allot a certain amount of your paycheck to go towards it each month. You’ll be surprised how quickly that money adds up. This not only teaches good budgeting skills, but it will also make life easier when you need to pay your bills, buy some food, or plan a night out with friends.
- Budgeting While You’re In College – This article offers some good suggestions for college students and how they can budget.
- How to Manage a Budget While in School – Use this helpful worksheet to assist you in creating your own personal budget.
- 118 Ways to Save Money While in College – This list has plenty of great tips to help you save money while in school.
- The Budget Pig – This series of videos explains how college students can create and stick to a budget.
- How to Create a Budget for Your College Student – Here is a helpful guide for students and parents to use for creating a college student budget.
- Student Budget Calculator – Use this interactive calculator to help you create a budget you can stick with.
- Establishing a Budget – This article gives some excellent advice on how to start your own budget.
- Tips for Living on a College Student Budget – These helpful tips can guide you through living your college years on a budget.