Your college years are some of the most exciting you’re likely to have, but they can also be filled with stress, worry, and heartache. You’ve got endless lectures to sit through, midnight oil to burn to try to meet your deadlines, and the problem of trying to make your money stretch further. While there is an endless number of courses to take covering subjects from archaeology and anthropology to philosophy and theology, not one of them is going to teach you how to make your student loan go further. Lucky for you we’re about to share some of the secrets. With one less worry, you’ll be able to enjoy college life a little better.
Create a Budget and Stick to It
One of the most important things for anyone to do if they want to manage their money better is to create a budget. Without one, there’s no order to your spending habits, and you just spend whatever you want on anything that takes your fancy. Very few people have a big enough income to live their life this way.
The first step is to make a list of the most important expenses such as your rent, phone, utilities, and savings. What money you’ve got left can then be portioned out to cover variables such as food, gas, clothes, and entertainment. Don’t worry if you’ve not got much left for these as you’re going to be re-evaluating your expenditure every month and you might be able to make some changes.
Keep Yourself Informed
As a student, your coursework is very important but try to find the time to keep abreast of financial and investing news. You might not have very much money to invest right now, but if you do find some, your knowledge is going to help you avoid making poor financial decisions. While thinking about the future might be very hard, you owe it to yourself to start making plans and spending your money wisely.
Find Some Mates to Share with or Study Online
Moving out of mom and dad’s comfortable all-inclusive hotel can be very hard, but it’s possible to soften the blow and expense of living away from home by taking in some roommates. You could save hundreds of dollars in rent if a couple more people are sharing the cost. Yes, there are some inevitable downsides such as loss of privacy and someone raiding the fridge and sneaking all your snacks. However, there are roommates out there who will make brilliant companions. It’s not always possible to choose your roommates but if you can try to find someone that compliments your personality and shares similar living habits.
Another alternative is to study online. An increasing number of young people are choosing to study from the comfort of their own home, and this can be a considerable saving. The range of courses is vast, and you don’t have to worry about the cost of travel or accommodation. Study for a masters in electrical engineering online, for example, and you’re free to study anywhere you want.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy New
Resist the urge to buy new when you need books, clothing, and other household items. Thanks to technology there’s a world of secondhand items waiting for you to buy. Thanks to sites such as Freecycle and Craigslist you can also swap, borrow and sell anything you want. Secondhand clothing stores, in particular, have become very popular and it’s possible to pick up some very cool items to add to your closet.
Get Yourself a Side Hustle
There are plenty of things you can do if you want to bring in some extra cash. You might think you haven’t got enough time, or you don’t know where to start, but both of these are just excuses. You’re not sitting in lecture halls every minute of the day, and if you’re smart with your homework, you’ve got plenty of time in the evenings to earn some extra money.
Think about some of the things you’re good at, and you’ll be able to find someone willing to pay. You might be a brilliant cook so why not offer your cooking skills at a price? Have you got green fingers? Maybe you could help a resident with their garden. You could start a blog or a website, become a freelance writer, do online design work, fill out online surveys, participate in market research, or walk people’s dogs. These are just a small selection of the many real and honest ways you can make money in college.
This is possibly one of the most difficult lessons you’ll need to learn if you want to manage your money. It is, however, one of the most important and will stand you in good stead for the future. Learning how to exercise self-control when you’re faced with the choice of going out for the evening with your mates and sitting at the bar drinking or staying in with your textbooks and a cheese sandwich. If you want to get anywhere in life, there are times when you’re going to have to make sacrifices. Get a handle on this now, and you’ll be able to deal with far bigger temptations in the future.
Having self-control doesn’t mean you don’t get to treat yourself every now and again. It just means you have to do it in moderation. Budgeting your time and money correctly is going to help you choose the right time to spoil yourself. If you haven’t got the willpower to stick to your budget, you’ll always struggle to succeed.
Think of your time in college as a lesson in life, and you’ll be better equipped when you enter the real world. Learning how to succeed at college on a tight budget isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, and you’re going to have to make sacrifices. Now you know some of the tricks to make it work you’re on the right road to a brighter future.