One of the most exciting and frightening stages in any student’s life is going off to college. Once accepted into your dream school, you need to start planning your finances. According to research, most college students struggle with money issues, leading to high dropout rates. This article offers insights on how to survive when working with a tight college budget.
- Begin Saving as Soon as Possible
One of the most critical insights to help you sort out your finances is to start working on your savings habits. Of course, your financial resources will be limited, meaning that getting the funds to save will demand discipline and dedication.
For most students, the newfound financial freedom is a chance to spend on fun and fashion. Fight this temptation and set aside some amount for a rainy day. The funds you save now could prove critical in an emergency. Experts also indicate that students who start saving early develop crucial money management skills that could prove essential long after college. You can also use the funds to hire professional essay writer services online.
- Plan Your Meals
Planning meals in college help you save time and money. According to research, many college students live unhealthily, preferring junk food and minimizing physical activity. The result is a spike in the cases of overweight and obesity. Unhealthy eating is also linked to lower grades, frequent illness, and fatigue. Experts recommend regular meals containing proteins, vitamins, fiber, and fruits.
While eating healthy is essential, most students struggle to afford decent meals because of financial constraints. Don’t waste your money on carbonated drinks and junk foods. Planning your meals allows you to create a food budget and get the most out of your resources. If possible, purchase some non-perishables in bulk and share food costs with a friend.
- Buy Used Books
There are numerous reasons why college students should consider buying used instead of new textbooks. Used books are much cheaper and can be resold once the student has completed the course. Also, experts indicate that purchasing used textbooks can be your way of helping the environment. Most importantly, ordering a book that has been owned before allows you to benefit from highlighted parts and study notes made by past owners.
The cost of purchasing a used book can be as low as half the price of ordering a new copy. You may even find copies of the same edition as the one indicated for your class. This means that you will not miss any updated info. Most importantly, you get a chance to make your money back by selling the book back after you have completed the unit.
- Create and Follow a Budget
Effective budgeting is another helpful skill you need if you are to survive on a minimal budget. Having a budget teaches you how to live within your means. You will have a better understanding of your financial status. Budgeting also allows you to track expenses and prioritize pressing needs over wants.
You don’t need elaborate budgeting skills to manage your college money. Learn to compile your income sources before analyzing where your money goes. When you know how the funds are spent, you can find ways to cut back and become more prudent. Budgeting also requires the listing of needs and wants in order of priority. Numerous resources can help with budgeting. Once you have a budget, you must remain disciplined and stick to it.
- Find Cheap Ways to Travel
Another area where college students spend much of their money is on travel expenses. If possible, live close to your university, even if the accommodation cost seems slightly high. Overall, you will find it relatively cheaper as you won’t spend huge sums commuting to class. If it is impossible to live close to college, look for ways to minimize transport costs.
For instance, you may consider driving to school the most viable option. Find ways to share fuel and parking costs with fellow students. You could also explore student discounts on public transport. Remember, what works for someone else may not necessarily suit you.
Being in college does not have to be too costly. Students need to create budgets that include such elements as food, books, accommodation, and transport. If possible, avoid depending on credit cards and minimize your student debt. Don’t forget to make good use of student discounts. Also, avoid unnecessary expenses and learn to live within your means. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance whenever you feel overwhelmed.