Freshmen college students will be excited to explore new campus environment, social circles and how to live independently for the first time. It is also the time of their lives that they live independently with greater responsibility, and that includes managing their own money while living far away from the parents.
Everyone needs a budget and saving up is a must, and students should not be spared on this financial management activity. It may be daunting to create a budget, but sticking to it is the best thing that a college student can do to stretch out his/her budget, and still get what he/she needs.
Create a budget
Every student must create a realistic budget, either monthly or weekly depending on the needs. In a budget, there should a list of various incomes (money from loans, freelance jobs, savings, and allowance from parents) and the expenses made. In this way, the difference between needs and wants will be highlighted, and students can draw their practical money decision from it. If a student creates a budget, it helps him or her to be strict on financial management.
Get student discounts with almost everything
They can check some good deals from different stores that cater to their need. Always take advantage of the money off vouchers, buy one get one free offers, 50 percent discounts on items at department stores and alike. One thing that students should remember in getting discounts is bringing their ID all the time. Aside from restaurants and cinemas, they are also entitled to discounts or even free offer at bookstores and museums. Keep an eye on various discounts you can find.
Use public transportation
Instead of using private vehicles, public transportation can be very helpful to stretch out the student budget. Buses, trains, and subways are great to narrow down the expenses because you won’t be needing gas or car maintenance. If the dorm is near the university, just walk or use bicycle instead. However, if riding a car in inevitable, create a carpool schedule with friends or neighbors to make transportation cheaper.
Do grocery wisely and learn how to cook
Students must avoid impulse buying in the supermarket, and they can do it by making a shopping list and sticking to it. They can buy food in bulk and put the meat or dairy products in fridge/freezer to lengthen the consumption period. Making their own food for school is a lot cheaper than buying the college canteen. Packed lunches are way cheaper and healthier too, offering good meals on the go. If you don’t know how to cook, perhaps you can make use of Google. After all, Google is our friend when it comes to almost everything. There are so many cooking tutorials you can find online, just find the time to do it.
Get a freelance work
If a student has a flexible schedule or the subject loads are not that stiff, he or she can do a freelance job. Nowadays, it’s a trend to have a side job while studying and the popular one is online writing. Online freelance writing can be flexible and can help boosting one’s resume. If you’re into designs, you can get web design or graphic design freelance work. It can help in paying bills, plus students can save money as well. Just make sure that you have the skills and the time to do it while studying.
Buy used textbooks
If a professor requires a book, always check first if the title has a used version. Sites like eBay or Amazon offers used college textbook for a very cheap price. A student can also check their library and see if a certain book is available, just check them thoroughly. Another option is ask for a friend’s help. If your friend has the book, borrow it and maybe photocopy it.
Shop at thrift stores
It is very practical to haggle things and stuff from thrift stores, it may be absurd for others but it’s a good way to go for having new stuff you need. Students can find amazing deals on name-brand stuff in great condition, they just need to be keen on finding good items. Thrift stores can be a good friend on pockets all the time.
Save emergency funds
Students should always try to set aside a bit of money each month for emergency purposes. You never know when you will need extra cash for unexpected school trip or sudden sickness. It helps to have an emergency fund during unexpected events and helps avoiding any unnecessary cash loans.
Being financially responsible for yourself is difficult, but if students know the difference between the WANTS and NEEDS, they should not be worried about money while staying in the campus. Always treat your money as the one of the most important things that will help you graduate.