For things first, congratulations are in order – you’re making your dreams come true. Going to college is a step to changing your life for the better in every way imaginable. Graduates report that they’re healthier, happier, and wealthier than they would have been alternatively.
Although, all good things have a price. It’s a financial strain on parents and students that seek loans. To get by, you’ve got to be savvy with your money.
Don’t miss out on this investment, study these three financial tips.
- Budget Your Money Wisely
A lot of students are fortunate enough to receive grants or have other sources of income to draw from. Some aren’t as lucky and have to work their way through while taking classes. Both need to know about proper budgetary constraints.
If you haven’t lived on your own before, and most students haven’t, you’re likely unfamiliar with the costs of living. The name is intuitive enough, but parsing everything out is an eye-opener.
Things to consider while in college that cost money, from most to least important:
- Books and references
Students should abide by the tried and true rule of thumb of 50/30/20.
Food, housing, and the necessities should constitute 50% of your monthly budget. 30% should put towards entertainment and eating out. The remaining 20% should be saved for emergencies.
How you divvy the 80% is arbitrarily important to you. Just remember to save.
- Save Money Where You Can
You should penny pinch every dollar you have in college. Saving money, or at least using it wisely, is a sign of maturity. Frugality is a tough mantra to live by, but it’s also a very necessary goal as a college student.
Instead of eating out, try to cook. Cooking is an invaluable skill in the long-run, and it’s a good way to feed yourself cheaply (and healthily). Invest your food budget in groceries rather than expensive trips to Applebee’s with the boys.
Buy used when you can. You don’t need anything new, especially textbooks and other school equipment. There’s always a reseller’s marketplace available online – utilize them!
Instead of going out drinking, do something free. Universities and cities around them have a ton of free resources to enjoy.
Perhaps even attend a cost-effective school, like the Institute on the Rosenberg or others similar to it.
- College Roommates
We all need someone to lean on sometimes. Having a roommate in college will save you big-time with housing costs. Plus, it’s a quintessential experience.
Sharing a dorm with someone is a great way to meet people and extend your friend group. But it’s also a great way to share costs.
Heck, if you were inclined to save money, live with your folks at home. It’s not as glamorous, and you’ll miss out on those potential life-long friendships, but you’ll save a ton. Having mom and pop subsidize the cost of living means that 50% and 30% are yours to do as you please.
You’re making moves in all the right directions—you’ve chosen to go to college.
But that can be expensive. Save money by budgeting properly. Be cognizant of that budget and save where you can and maybe get a couple of roommates.
Starting your college career? Check out our other articles about school life.