How to Live on a College Budget

Going to college was a huge adjustment for me because I came from a home where I had everything provided for me and never really had to worry about anything. Although I still have life extremely easy because I live in a dorm, walk five minutes to class, and have meals made for me whenever I want them, freshman year is a huge adjustment. The biggest thing a freshman student needs to learn quickly is how to manage your money.

Some students are in charge of providing their own spending money for college, some get an allowance from their parents, and for some it’s a mixture of the two. Regardless, there are so many places to blow all your money as a freshman and wind up broke.

Everyone always talks about how bad the dining hall food is, and I was the same way. So I took my allowance for the month and I went to the grocery store and went way over the top with food and snacks. When I told my parents I blew all my money on groceries, he told me,

“You’re in college Riley, live like a college student and learn to live on a budget.”

That was some of the best advice I have ever received. I stopped buying groceries except for a few midnight snacks. I know everyone hates the dining hall but it’s edible, my advice is to use your meal plan and don’t spend money on things already provided to you.

The next thing freshmen spend all their money on is going out on the weekends, or weekdays. Everyone goes crazy when they get to college, just make sure you stay on top of your school work. Don’t be the kid that goes out every night and wakes up wondering how they spent $50 at the bar last night. My advice for going out is leave all your credit and debit cards at home and only take how much you are willing to lose.

College is an awesome time but the three keys to keeping your parents and yourself happy are stay on top of your school work, stay out of trouble, and manage your money well.