For many students, college life is the beginning of a taste into adulthood and the responsibilities that come with being an independent individual. College is a transition from the comfort of your parents’ home where everything was provided for by your folks; to an environment where you need to make your own decisions on how much you are going to spend and on what you are going to spend it on. Small decisions such as eating time and time to go out which used to be regulated by your parents are now at your discretion too. Besides the increasing work load in terms of class assignments, the increasing personal finance responsibility for new college students can be overwhelming if not well guided.
Create personal budgets
Money is always at the center stage of a college student’s life. You will need cash for our meals, for your accommodation, for your stationery and for having fun. The challenge is that you will always need more money than you have, and hence you will need to learn the discipline of financial planning and budgeting. This will help you to sail through college smoothly without financial hurdles interfering with your studies; and come out of school as a financially intelligent individual. By understanding what your key expenses are and allocating your income to them accordingly in order of their priority; you will have started building a culture of financial prudence that will help you to meet all your important needs when in college.
Pursue alternative sources of extra income
Besides budgeting for the meagre finances you get from your parents and from your student loan; you should be able to raise more income by yourself from other sources in order to supplement your budget. These alternative sources of income could be a part time job that you do when you are out of class; or you can opt to try out online trading at your free time. Compared to a part time job, online trading gives you the freedom and convenience to trade from anywhere at any time as long as you have an online trading account and an internet connection. You will however need to follow market trends analysis by Lionexo analysts and other sources of credible market news; in order to make the right trading decisions that will maximize your returns.
Know your needs and wants
Not everything you want is a needed to make your life in college a smooth and happy one. Due to peer pressure, some college students always end up turning leisure into a need rather than keep it as want that it is. This leads them to allocating much of their money to entertainment and travelling, while leaving very little amount for the essentials such as buying of text books and eating healthy meals; in order to keep your body fit and your mind sharp for studying. Some of these reckless spending habits on unnecessary wants may lead you into debt; and you do not want to get trapped into the rat race while still in college and not earning a regular salary yet.
Use, do not abuse your credit card
According to the International Journal of Business and Social Science, about 70 percent of undergraduate students have at least one credit card. How you use your credit card will be reflected in your credit scoring by the credit bureaus. Now that you are in college, you are not far off from joining the real world where your credit score determines your ability to access credit. In a few years’ time you will need buy a house using a mortgage or buy a car using a loan; and your credit score will be the key determinant in how much loan you can access at that time. It is therefore advisable to start building and cleaning up your credit records by using your credit card wisely and on essentials only.
Do your homework on loans and financial aid
Finally, you need to supplement your incomes with available student loans charging low interest rates and other scholarships offered by your college. Taking advantage of these grants meant for college students will help you to be able to have extra cash that you can then save and invest. Over time, you can then use these savings to repay your student loans and start your life smoothly after college.