Your first few months of college can be a whirlwind of emotions and activity, especially if you’ve never lived away from home before. You’ll find yourself solely responsible for your time, your work, your meals, and—perhaps most importantly—your money. The stereotype of the “broke college student” might be as old as the institution of college itself. I won’t lie to you—for many, it’s at least partially true. You probably won’t be swimming in money, no matter how little you spend. However, there are ways to ensure you have some extra cash on hand, as long as you learn how to manage your money. Here are six easy steps to avoid ending up in your campus poor house:
Create a Budget
List monthly income sources, including savings, wages and parental allowances, and then write down estimated expenses for the month. It is not easy to identify college living expenses in advance, but you should try. Dedicate your funds every month towards, eating out, going to the movies, books and supplies, personal care item and laundry. You have to allocate certain money for these things or probably you can divide the money for 4 weeks separately, so, you have to be strict with yourself that each week you cannot spend over the budget that you had allocated.
Separate wants from needs.
Separate wants from needs. How much should you budget for non-meal plan food? How much will laundry cost? After a few months on campus and tracking expenses, it becomes easier to distinguish wants from needs and put a plan into action. Some students give themselves a weekly cash allowance and when that week’s allowance is gone, they wait until next week for more “wants.”
Purchase used school books & sell your old ones
You can just buy the used textbooks from your senior or rent from them. If you buy the textbook, after the semester end, you can just sell it back to your junior but if your library has a lot of copies for the textbook, you can just borrow it.
Use your student ID
Many businesses show their appreciation for local student populations by offering discounts when you show your student identification card. Make a habit of visiting these businesses for special occasion meals, haircuts, school supplies or other essentials they may offer to get discounts on services and items you’re already planning to purchase.
Cook at home
Cooking at home doesn’t mean you can never eat out but cooking at home can be fun, inventive and even a great social activity. While it may require some planning ahead, a lot of money can be saved by purchasing ingredients from your local supermarket and making the most of leftovers.
Earn some extra cash
“Work as much as you can without hindering your studies,” says Chenell Tull from BrightCents.com. Even a part-time job is great to give you some spending money. Depending on what you’re majoring in, freelance work may be a great option to make a little money on the side. If your program doesn’t offer many opportunities for freelance work, consider other creative ways to make money. Use the technology that we have like sell some clothes you’ve been meaning to get rid of or host a garage sale with your friends.
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