Living on a budget is a part of college life. You spend money on what you believe is important and cut back on what isn’t. As you live by semester you will begin to understand what’s important and what isn’t. Surviving college is about learning a new career and learning about you but don’t forget about saving for college and learning how to spend money wisely.
Write It Down
Write down everything you spend money or credit on – extracurricular activities, leisures, entertainment, food, clothing and other necessities. Write down the various sources of receiving money (i.e., job, parents, student loans, etc). Write down fixed purchases like car bills, cable, phone, tuition, room/board or rent/utilities, credit cards and insurance. Categorize them into expenses and income. The goal is to have more income in your pocket than money spent or break even. If it doesn’t balance, cut out necessities that’s not needed or find a new avenue for income.
Set a Timeframe
It’s easier if you decide how long the budget will be. Set a budget to last per week, per month, per semester or per year. You will know how much to spend per timeframe and you can control yourself if you are tempted to go over budget.
Look for Deals & Discounts
In order to save you must be creative and flexible. If you have to spend extra for a must-have, find it for a good price. Textbooks are a prime example. Instead of buying new books at the bookstore purchase used books or eBooks instead. Go to thrift or second hand stores to buy dishes, dressers, and more. Go to dollar stores for school and dorm supplies. Look online for company coupon codes to use at checkout while you’re shopping online. Reuse items as something else.
We hate to think of a worst-case scenario but life happens to everyone. The unexpected happens to our loved ones and us. Have money saved up in case of car repairs, medical emergencies and sudden travel expenses.
Sometimes spending a lot of money is a great investment. An example is money for a new apartment or a spring break trip. Cut back on expenses further so you’ll have so much income you can afford to purchase that investment. If you do that, you won’t go over budget. If you must borrow money make sure the amount is as low as possible so it’s easy to pay back.
Take small leaps toward saving and you will save. Adjust the budget to spend more or less until you find your groove. Saving money wasn’t a class taught in school; it’s something you must learn on your own. Test those limitations to find the boundaries. Contact us for more information.