The financial question has always been acute for students. The loans have a tendency to add up, while the rent only gets more expensive. Unfortunately, most of the things in this world require money.
And since college is about becoming an adult, you can only ask for advice, not expect your parents to take care of everything. Luckily, there’s the internet and every single question one might ask has probably already been answered.
So, we are going to answer the question ‘how do I manage my budget,’ in the following article.
Make a Budget
To manage a budget, you have to create it first. To start, you’ll need to determine your income sources. The most common ones for students are as follow:
- Students loan;
- Scholarships or grants;
- Help from parents;
- Part-time job.
Then, you’ll need to write down your expenses. Things like rent, bills (insurance, electricity, water, internet, etc.), transport, books, and grocery shopping should go first. After that, you can include less vital spendings, like write paper, new clothes, eating out and entertainment.
Calculate everything, see if your income matches your spending habits. If not, reconsider the less-essential spendings and try to cut them down.
The next step is dividing your monthly budget into a few weekly ones. This way, you’ll see how much money you have per week. A weekly budget will be easier to follow as you’ll feel the consequences of overspending almost immediately.
You don’t have to go through all this struggle alone and turn your brain into a calculus machine. There are loads of helpful apps, platforms, and resources that can help you. Try downloading Mint or PocketGuard to always keep track of your spending habits.
Planning your income is a habit that will prove important throughout your life, so the earlier you master it, the better. Whenever you get some extra money, don’t go spending it immediately – save it.
Your future self will be grateful. It’s important to have a financial cushion. This way, if you face some unexpected spendings, you won’t have to borrow money or get in an unpleasant situation with your landlord.
Separate Needs from Wants
A big part of becoming an adult is being able to determine if you truly need something, or it’s a whim. If you’ve just received your paycheck, you’re likely to want to spend some money immediately like get a fancier coffee than usual, eat out, or buy a concert ticket.
Still, it’s important to remember that every penny is a part of your monthly budget. That means that if you overspend on one day, you’ll probably struggle by the end of the month.
It’s a good idea to cut on the unnecessary purchases altogether. For example, smoking is terrible for you and it can drain your pockets. Takeout food is usually quite expensive, too, but you can cook the same stuff at home. The same goes for coffee. Get a reusable cup to carry around with you and make your coffee at home. You can save about $1,500 a year by not buying your coffee on the go.
Get a Job
If you want to survive this time on your own, you’re going to have to assume the role of an adult and get a job eventually. It doesn’t have to be a full-time lawyer position at a respectable firm.
Go for something simple that will barely require any input from you and will not take much of your time. You have to study after all. One positive thing that the pandemic has taught us is that there’s a lot of jobs that can be done online and do not require personal contact neither with clients nor with employers.
This is a perfect opportunity for students. Just think about it: you don’t have to commute, which leaves you more time for studying, and some jobs can be done any time of day or night. The latter is perfect for those who can never get that sleep pattern in order.
If you’re good at writing or any other particular subject, you can try tutoring or academic paper writing. A lot of students are in desperate need of help and would rather pay a person they know than some service online. If you’d rather not communicate, you could try transcribing or any other work with text.
Babysitting, dog walking, or cleaning are a bit more demanding, yet, they will get you money anyways. Opportunities are endless, you just have to look for them.
Use the Student Discounts
With student discounts, you can cut on transportation costs, digital subscriptions, your school library, insurance, movie tickets, and many others. You just have to be prepared to show your student ID, so do carry it with you.
Keep in mind, though, that, normally, companies don’t advertise their student discounts. Yet, if you look for them, you can find a whole lot of opportunities to save on basic goods and services. Just don’t be shy to ask or do some extensive research online.
Students don’t have it easy. And for most of us, a family cannot offer as much support as they would like. Becoming an adult means getting used to counting on yourself only and budgeting is a big part of that process.
If your parents have taught you financial literacy, it’s amazing. But it’s not the case for the majority. It’s a rocky road but you’ll get better at it eventually.
Just take one step at a time. Start with writing down your income and spendings. Then, look for ways to enlarge the income and cut down on spendings. Who knows, you might even be able to save some by the end of college!
Don’t forget about the perks you can use, like discounts or freebies, and try to cut down on some habits that ruin your budget and your health.