College is the best four years of your life, but it’s also notoriously the four poorest years of your life, but there’s ways to avoid feeling miserable whenever you check your bank statement. If you manage your money right, budget strictly and even invest correctly you can escape the chains of your credit cards. Here's 5 tips to get started:
1. Limit Your Trips to Eat Out
It’s well known that the number one source of cash outflow for most college students is eating out. Occasionally eating out is unavoidable and food is a necessity, but most college freshmen are forced to purchase some kind of cafeteria meal plan. As painful and monotonous as cafeteria life gets, try limiting your eating out so that you only fray to restaurants on the weekends. It’s both a fun and tasty reward while saving your bank account.
2. Limit Your Shopping
Depending on your budget, you should set shopping restrictions for yourself. Life always throws unexpected costs your way, so my best advice would be to put your shopping budget at a minimum so that you can afford all of college’s many financial hurdles. So maybe allow one to two shopping trips a month to kick start some healthy shopping habits.
3. Set Budget Goals
This tip is pretty straightforward and really if you’re doing everything else right it should be easily achieved. If you set monthly spending limits, with realistic expectations, you can tighten up any unnecessary spending. Tackling your budget one month at a time is essential for you and your wallet, knowing to set aside more money around the holiday season and to tighten up the budget in the spring to save up for summer adventures can be some of the best decisions you make.
4. Find Money Where You Didn’t Look Before
There are plenty of ways to make money at college that hadn’t even occurred to me before living on a college campus. Of course one of the least time exhaustive ways is through scholarships, which are important to continue to apply for; there’s always new scholarships around the corner so don’t let the fact that you didn’t get a particular scholarship before enrollment deter you from looking and applying. Another major key to rolling in the dough is finding an on-campus job. You’d be surprised at how much the school you pay to go to is willing to pay you for a service. On top of the availability of on-campus work, a lot of times the jobs are totally manageable with anyone’s schedule. I’ve met so many people that tell me they get paid to man a desk and do their homework, so get looking!
5. Utilize Online Banking
The internet has made our lives infinitely easier, and our banking isn’t exempt. If you learn to utilize all that online banking has to offer you might even be able to leave college with more money than what you started with. There’s all sorts of apps to help with banking, budgeting, and investing. Personally I recommend the Mint app to help with setting a budget and the Acorns app if you’re looking to invest, but aren’t quite sure how to yet.