Looking to manage your money as a college student? College life can be expensive, so here’s a guide with some money management tips for students.
Between the tuition and book fees, rent, food, and phone bills, you’ve got a lot to think about financially.
College is a great time to learn about yourself, try new things, and meet new people. But it’s a little tough to do when the budget gets tight!
Follow these smart college tips for saving money, and you can start your future off on the right financial foot, and still have money to spend on a fun night out every once in a while!
Money Management Tips for Students
1. Consider Housing Costs
When you’re planning for college, remember to factor in travel and housing costs.
If you’re not living at home, housing will be one of your biggest expenses.
Consider how possible it is to live at home, rent-free, or at an extremely reduced rent. And don’t forget the potential expenses for the commute from home to classes every day.
If living at home isn’t an option, because of geography, consider an apartment with roommates, rather than spending money on a dorm.
Dorms come with an inflated price, thanks to their convenience to school.
So join a few room share sites, and try apartment living to save cash. Just be sure to look for places that include utility costs!
2. Make Use Of Your Student Discounts
If you’re in a university or college town, you’d be surprised where you qualify for student discounts.
Clothing, electronics, even the grocery stores often have special deals if you bring your student card. Get to know the area, and what offers are available to you as a student.
Sometimes, even pubs and clubs have special student-friendly discount nights.
You can save a lot more than you expect, and it really helps with the monthly bills, when you know which days of the week you can catch a break!
Read also: 4 Money-Saving Rules Every Student Should Live By
3. Ditch The Car
If you own a car, the second biggest monthly bill is generally your car payments.
Between fluctuating gas prices, insurance, and car payments, keeping your car on the road is a huge drain on your finances.
The next one of our best money management tips for students is to find better ways to get around. Try car sharing with roommates, join a carpool at your school, or make use of public transportation, which is proven to be less expensive than car payments on a year-by-year basis.
4. Save on Books and Equipment
Books and equipment are always expensive, no matter the field you’re studying. Textbooks aren’t cheap, so it’s a good idea to get them used when you can.
Most college bookstores have a buyback policy. If the book is in good shape, the school will buy it back and sell it at a hugely reduced rate.
You can also join textbook sharing communities online, where former students gather to swap textbooks.
Laptops, tablets, and other tech gear are essential for college success. It helps keep you connected to your classmates and your profs and makes work a lot easier.
Just like you can get a huge deal on your books, there are online retailers that specialize in cheap and refurbished tablets and laptop computers that can save you hundreds of dollars. Especially with student discounts!
5. Find Cheap Ways To Socialize
College should be a time of forging relationships and making connections. But it should also be a time to try new things, and have the odd adventure every once in a while!
Most of your friends are on a tight budget too, and they’ll love the opportunity to find a cheaper and easier way to hang out.
Watch movies online at home, instead of going out. Hang out at the beach instead of a pool. Go for a run, instead of paying for a gym membership.
Throw parties at home, instead of at a club, and go out for dessert or coffee, instead of dinner. There are plenty of little ways to hang out, no matter what your budget.
6. Monetize Your Skills
Keeping a budget is one of the main money management tips for students you’ll hear everywhere. But you can’t draw blood from a stone, right?
The best way to ensure you’ve got cash on hand is to make more of it. If your class schedule makes working tough, try finding ways to monetize the skills you already have.
If you play an instrument, you can advertise teaching lessons.
If your writing skills are commendable, you could offer your expertise to those seeking assistance and advertise your ability to write my papers.
Your campus may even offer admin and tutoring work to top students. So keep your grades up, and put your name out there. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make extra cash!
Read also: How Nancy Started a Digital Marketing Business While in College
7. Keep a Budget
It seems like a no-brainer, but an important part of living the frugal student life is making a budget and sticking to it.
Carefully document expenses every month. Keep receipts. Come tax time, you might be surprised at the refunds being a student entitles you to.
Hold on to any student loan documentation, and make a note on your calendar for when bills are due. That means no late payment fees, which saves you money overall.
Make sure to leave some room in the budget for spending and saving when you can. That way, if something does happen, you won’t be left with your accounts completely emptied.
8. Look Into Your Tuition
Student loans can follow you for years. But they don’t have to.
Smaller colleges tend to have lower tuitions, and often are more likely to offer scholarships and bursaries, due to less competition.
If you’re determined to go to your dream school, familiarize yourself with the finance department. They may be able to help you find scholarships or grants you’re not aware of, to help you in your studies.
Always check with your school’s student loan office for updates on your government-issued loans. Policy changes can happen at any time, and impact the funding you’re entitled to.
College is expensive. Your student loans might lead to debt, but your living expenses don’t have to. With these few money management tips for students, you’ll find you’re able to enjoy college life without worrying so much about bills and debt. Best of all, you’ll develop great financial tips and tools that will see you through not just college life, but your life beyond.
FAQ: Managing Your Money as a College Student
Why is managing money important for college students?
Managing money in college is crucial for various reasons. It helps you avoid unnecessary debt, build good financial habits, and ensures you have enough funds for tuition, books, and living expenses. Developing strong financial skills early on sets the foundation for a secure financial future.
How can I create a budget that works for me as a college student?
Start by listing all your sources of income and outlining your essential expenses, such as tuition, housing, and food. Allocate a portion of your income for savings and discretionary spending. Regularly review and adjust your budget to accommodate changes in your financial situation.
What are some tips for saving money while in college?
Look for student discounts: Take advantage of discounts available to students on software, entertainment, and various services.
Buy used textbooks: Opt for used or digital textbooks to save on education costs.
Cook at home: Eating out can add up quickly. Learning to cook simple meals at home can save you money.
Is it advisable to get a part-time job while in college?
It depends on your schedule and workload. If you can balance a part-time job with your studies, it can provide extra income and valuable work experience. However, prioritize your academics to ensure your job doesn’t interfere with your grades.
How can I build and maintain good credit as a college student?
Start by understanding the basics of credit. Consider getting a student credit card, use it responsibly, and pay your bills on time. Keep your credit utilization low and monitor your credit report regularly. Building good credit early can benefit you in the long run.
What should I do if I find myself in financial trouble during college?
If you’re facing financial challenges, reach out to your college’s financial aid office for guidance. They may offer resources or advice on managing your specific situation. Consider creating a revised budget and exploring additional sources of income or financial assistance.
Should I take out student loans, and if so, how much is reasonable?
Only take out student loans after exhausting other options like scholarships, grants, and part-time work. Borrow only what is necessary for tuition and essential expenses. Aim to minimize student loan debt to avoid long-term financial burdens after graduation.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when managing money in college?
Ignoring a budget: Failing to create and stick to a budget can lead to overspending.
Misusing credit cards: Be cautious with credit cards and use them responsibly to avoid accumulating high-interest debt.
Neglecting savings: Establish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses and avoid financial setbacks.
How can I start investing as a college student?
Begin by educating yourself on basic investment principles. Consider opening a low-cost investment account and start with small, regular contributions. Take advantage of investment opportunities provided by your college or seek guidance from a financial advisor.
Here are some articles to check out:
- How to Invest Your Money to Make Money
- Forex Trading for Beginners: How to Start Investing in Forex Online
- 8 Quick and Easy Ways to Invest $1000 for a Profit (And Without Too Much Effort)
- How to Get Started with Passive Investments
- The Main Types of Cryptocurrency Other Than Bitcoin (+ Top 10 Cryptocurrencies)
- How Do NFTs Work and Should You Invest in Them
Remember, financial management is a continuous learning process, and the habits you develop during college can have a lasting impact. Embrace the opportunity to build good financial practices, prioritize your needs, and plan for your future.
Whether it’s saving for emergencies, investing wisely, or making informed decisions about student loans, the money management tips for students you follow will stay with you beyond graduation.
About The Author
Ken Hyden is an avid tech geek, incurable entrepreneur, and charming introvert.
Stock Photo from WAYHOME studio @ Shutterstock