As a college student, try to follow these simple budgeting tips and learn long-term money management skills. College is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. It’s probably the first time you’ve ever lived on your own without your family looking over your shoulder every time you make a move. You’re encountering all kinds of new experiences, and you have the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things.
As fun as it is, this much freedom and opportunity can make budgeting particularly difficult. Here are some easy tips you can use to properly manage your finances.
Track your spending and see where you can save
One of the biggest traps college students fall into is spending money on food and drinks when they don’t need to. Do you find yourself visiting the coffee shop near campus everyday? Or does the late-night pizza delivery guy know you by name? If so, you might want to start budgeting. Get in the habit of tracking how much you spend on these kinds of things. You can save a lot of money by packing your lunch, using your meal plan and having a coffee maker and some mugs in your dorm room or apartment. For an entire week, write down what you spend and where you spend it. Then see if you can make some changes that will leave you with more money. Of course, you don’t want to completely deprive yourself of your favorite treats or your budget will be hard to stick to, but spending more conscientiously can save you a lot of money.
Curb your spending on credit
It is also very easy to fall into the “buy now, pay later” trap with your credit card while you are in college. This can be very dangerous because your purchases can end up costing a lot more than their ticket price, due to interest rates and finance charges. Make a commitment to yourself to stick to your budget and only charge what you can afford to pay for. If you don’t start budgeting now, you might find yourself graduating into debt instead of financial independence.
Get a job
If you are managing your class and study schedule well, you might want to think about another helpful budgeting tip: getting a job. This can help you afford things that you want and need, as well as provide excellent resume boosters. If you do get a job while you are in college, just be sure that you don’t lose sight of your immediate goal of getting your degree. Also, adjust your budget properly so that you don’t just buy things. Be sure to pay off debt with your extra money.
Getting used to budgeting early in life can make it easier to stay on the road to financial independence.