Going to college can be an incredible, life-altering and highly valuable experience. You will want to make the most out of this experience by doing well in classes, making lots of friends, forging meaningful connections and learning how to live independently.
However, it can also be a highly expensive time as you will need to balance life and college costs which can be particularly tricky if you do not have much experience in managing your own money, paying rent, and so on. Fortunately, there are a few helpful tips for students which should help them to manage their money effectively so that they can get the most out of their time at college:
Create A Termly Budget
First, it is a smart move to create a budget for the term ahead so that you can carefully plan where your money will be spent. This will include money on the essentials like food, rent, and any college fees and then a set amount for non-essentials. Doing this should ensure that your money lasts you all the way through the term so that you do not have a week or two where you are struggling to get by.
Textbooks can be highly expensive to purchase when new which can eat significantly into your budget. Instead of buying brand new, look to purchase from students in the years above you or online second-hand as you could make significant savings this way. You could then look to sell your textbook once you are done with it to raise extra funds and to help out those behind you on the course.
Food is one of the major expenses, but it is vital that you eat well and look after yourself while studying. When you go to the grocery store, try to find cheap non-brand variants of what you would usually buy. You will be amazed at just how much money you could save and how there is little difference in terms of quality and taste. Additionally, it can be tempting to order takeaway and eat junk food while you are at college and, although it’s ok from time to time, it is much cheaper and healthier to cook for yourself.
Walk Where Possible
Travel can be another cost that adds up over time. It can be helpful to have a car for shopping and getting to and from college but try only to drive when completely necessary. Walking or cycling is free and much healthier, or you might find that you could save money over the term by getting the bus instead of driving in.
Being social and having fun is an essential part of being a college student (although not as important as studying!). It is perfectly fine to spend some of your loan on going out and having fun with friends from time to time, just make sure that you are not doing this constantly and spending vast sums on socializing. Instead, there are plenty of great cheap or free entertainment options to consider so keep your eyes peeled for local or college events. You can also save money by going around to people’s accommodation and having people over to your place.
One of the perks of being a student is that there are discounts to take advantage of across a wide range of products and services. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts for students on clothing, food, gym memberships, cinemas and anywhere else that you might spend money. Although helpful to have student discounts, make sure that you are not buying items or services that you do not need.
Another significant yet essential expense will be service providers including gas, electric and internet. Be sure to shop around to find the best deals when you first start college and then make sure you look around at the start of each new academic year to see if you could be making savings by switching. Although it can be a hassle to do this, it will prove to be worth it in the long run if you are able to make savings.
A great way to boost your finances when you go to college is to sell items that you no longer need. You may not have as much space before and find that you no longer need a wide range of items and you could earn a tidy sum by selling things like DVDs, books, CDs and anything else that you may have collected over the years.
Supplement Your Income
One of the best ways to manage your time at college financially is to supplement your loan by finding a source of income. It is vital that this does not interfere with your studies so avoid taking on any highly demanding or stressful work. You could look into a part-time position in a shop, cafe or similar establishment, but many modern-day students find that online work is an excellent way to boost their income and you can even work from home. This is because it is highly flexible and can be fitted around a time and place to suit you so it will not disrupt your studies.
If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, such as a sudden unexpected cost, then it can cause a great deal of anxiety and sometimes a government-issued standard loan will not be enough. In these situations, you may find it best to take out bad credit student loans from a specialist provider. Doing this will help you to get through the rough patch and continue your studies and, in many cases, the repayment terms will be flexible.
Going to college is an exciting and essential chapter in your life, and you will want to make the most of your time as a student. Money can be an issue when you are studying, and it is important that you have some financial stability so that you can concentrate on your studies and enjoy this valuable, rewarding and fun experience.