Student debt is a major financial stress for many college students and even established adults who are still paying off their loans. Money management isn’t a skill addressed in most universities, and even those who are in a math-oriented major may still find themselves struggling to keep a healthy balance and optimize their income. It may seem like a lifetime, but college doesn’t last forever. Learning how to manage money in college will have an impact on the rest of your life, so follow these tips and consider how you can begin developing good financial habits while you’re still in school.
Always Stick to a Budget
You will never earn too little to have a budget. Students who work part-time, use loan money or are given an allowance from their parents should sit down each month and address their spending. Money management apps make it easier than ever to keep track of bills, living expenses and other spending habits.
Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps that’s free to use, easy to understand and a great segue into personal finances for college students.
Consider Every $1 Valuable
You may think that only large sums of money matter, or that you don’t have to worry about how much you spend from reserves if your bills are taken care of. Unfortunately, this mentality can cause people to gain massive debt or wind up living paycheck to paycheck even after they land a good job.
The best way to start managing money is to start small. If you could only spend $1 every day, what would you buy? More importantly, how would you save? Thinking about $1 as equally valuable as $50 or $100 will help you become more conscious of what you buy and how much you’re willing to spend on things.
Start Making Coffee at Home
Save your lattes for trips to the coffee shop with friends and make your daily cup of joe at home. It may seem like an $8 bag of coffee doesn’t mean much, but consider spending $8 every week or two compared to $8 every one or two days.
Cooking your own meals, bringing healthy snacks on the go and using a travel mug will save you hundreds of dollars every semester.
Use a Credit Card You Can Pay Back
Get a student credit card and use it for your monthly expenses so you can pay it back right away. Doing so will help you earn rewards and build a good credit score that will make it easier to get an apartment, buy a car and do other big things later in life.
Your credit score as an adult has a major impact on your financial stability; you might think no credit score is better than a bad one, but that isn’t always the case. Using a credit card to establish good payment history will make you a more favorable applicant to landlords and car companies, and it will also help lower your insurance rates and help you get a mortgage.
Work on Holidays
It may not sound as fun as a trip to Cabo for spring break, but working during the holidays can help you make more money, pay off debt while you’re in school and save more overtime. Working certain jobs can also give you experience you can add to a resume later.
Keep Applying for Scholarships
There are many ways you can lower the burden of student debt, and scholarships should be the first place you start. Even if you didn’t get the best grades in high school, there are hundreds of scholarships you can apply to every year that can save you thousands of dollars on loans and tuition.
The goal is to borrow as little as possible so you can graduate relatively debt-free and maximize your income as an adult.
College Money Habits Matter
Learning how to budget, save and live within your means now will help you be a more financially stable adult later. It may feel like college is meant to be a free for all when it comes to money, but think of this as a training period in which you lay the groundwork for the biggest investments of your life.
Follow us on Facebook for financial management & money saving tips!
The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.