As you probably already heard, college is expensive. Besides the tuition fee, there are books, living costs, supplies and extracurricular activities that also cost money. Yet, students across the globe find a way to make it work.
Many students choose to attend community college that costs significantly less and then transfer to a renown university after their second or first year. Whichever school you choose, there will be housing to think of. Research shows that in the majority of cases, it is cheaper to live off campus. Keep in mind that your rent will be followed by monthly living costs. You will need to pay for utilities, internet and home supplies. You also have to eat so groceries are just as important. If you run out of cash in the middle of the week and are forced to live off a box of cereal for the rest of the week, you’ll get a taste of what happens to adults who mismanage their money. Choosing between eating in or eating out will make a big deference in your monthly expenses. If you live off campus, there’s also transport to think of. Don’t forget about your phone bill and a fund for fun, as you are in college after all.
Tips on Budgeting and Saving Money In College
if you don’t want to drown yourself in debt as you work toward a diploma, you need to learn to create a budget and stick to it. In most cases, your budget will be tight so it is imperative for you to learn how to stretch your money. Once you put down your cash inflows, including help from your parents, any scholarships, grants and your part-time job, you need to write down your expenses in detail to make sure your money will be well-managed.
Besides learning how to budget you will also have to learn how to save money and be ready for the unexpected costs that are bound to come up.
Use a budgeting app
Some months will have higher than typical costs. To prepare accordingly and have some wiggle room for unexpected costs that are bound to pop up, a budgeting app will be your best friend. They are either low cost or entirely free so there is no excuse not to use one. It will save you precious time that you can use to start a side hustle like delivering packages for Amazon or launching a website that you can earn money from while you sleep.
Make sure your utility bill is as low as possible
When moving in, make sure to compare gas companies in the area to find the provider with the cheapest rates. The difference can be up to several hundreds of dollars on an annual basis. Shopping around is a good idea for all things in general like your internet provider, insurance, etc. Back to utilities, make sure you adopt energy-saving habits such as turning off lights when you leave the room. You will give the planet a helping hand and save money from your energy bill.
Living off campus and buying your own food instead of eating in the dining hall can save you about $300 per month. If you have roommates, you can even share the cost of ingredients. If you are not a fan of cooking, make one large meal and eat it throughout the week. You can even freeze food and eat it later to avoid having a boring menu.
Use the perks of being a student
Many companies offer student discounts, from clothing to electronics. Use the campus amenities that are usually free. Print on campus. Join clubs as there are bound to be many fun yet free events you can attend.
The minimalist philosophy is so much more than ‘less is more’. People whose homes, meals and clothing are simple are known to be less stressed and to have a clearer mind. Trying it out can’t hurt and it will save you money.
Every month will be a little different and there will always be unexpected expenses. But as long as you keep track of everything, you will find a way to swim through the expenses. This is one test that you cannot afford to fail.