7 Tips for Managing Your Finances During College
College is a time of growth for any young person, and a large part of that journey is getting to know personal finances. Managing money does not come naturally, and it is a learned behavior that demands discipline and cautious planning at times. This is never truer than when income is sparse and life is demanding, as it is during the college years. Here are seven tips for managing your money while you’re out exploring your future.
Plan Your Finances by Making a Budget
As a young and fresh adult, making a budget may seem like an alien concept, but it is a strategy worth adopting into your daily life for multiple reasons. Not only does it allow for a clearer view of incomings and outgoings, but a visual representation of your finances means you can see where you can be flexible and where you can’t. Making a document helps you plan, keeps you organized, and ensures accountability across all areas. Typical budget points might be:
- Travel costs
- Food and meal planning
- Going out and socialising at events
- Rolling educational costs
- Rent and other bills
- Mobile phone and subscription channels
Some of these costs may be shareable with housemates, so it is worth opening up the conversation if you are in a multi-student household.
Find Part-Time Work
Although studying should remain a priority, lots of students embark on a part-time career to fund their lifestyle as they learn. In college towns, there are bound to be plenty of vacancies for seasonal, part-time work. Update your resume and make some applications, as any income will be beneficial towards better financial management.
Consider Investment Opportunities
If you start investing while you’re young, it may just serve as a profitable source of passive income. There are lots of methods to pick from, many of which present as opportunities to grow wealth. It is a skill worth acquiring and the sooner you start, the more time you have to build returns.
Learn to Prioritise
Knowing what to prioritise is just another lesson to learn on the way to getting older. Budgets are a great tool, but they have to be flexible. Sometimes, unexpected expenses burst into your life, and this means you have to sacrifice certain things to afford them. For example, your laptop breaks so what do you do? Paying to get it fixed was not on the budget, but it is a task that needs to take priority over going out. So, you move the budget around to make it work.
Don’t Get Drawn into Debt
One common downfall of college finances is falling into debt because of things like credit cards. Too many credit cards lead to a load of debt that becomes hard to manage very quickly. Where possible, lean on other measures like overdrafts if you are ever in a position where you have to borrow.
Take Advantage of Student Offers
Don’t forget that students always get offers from various outlets. Whether it is a discount on retail or food and drink or utility service, there is bound to be a line specifically tailored to college attendees. Take advantage of all the offers and cut your monthly outgoings by doing so.
Get a Student Banking Account
Similarly, make sure your bank account is a college one. There are often better deals and interest rates and also options for student overdrafts to take advantage of as well. If you don’t want the hassle of switching accounts or managing multiple ones, the benefits outweigh the cons in this case.
Managing your finances during college is a challenge that needs constant maintenance. With some smart thinking and proper planning, it becomes much easier.