For all its charms, student life can also bring about certain challenges that people who are still starting out in life can find quite testing. After all, it isn’t easy to suddenly have to take care of yourself after years of being looked after by your parents. Simply learning how to take control of your finances may be one of the toughest assignments you’ll have to face during college, especially since your income opportunities will likely be quite limited. To that end, here are five tried and true strategies to help you get the most out of your student money:
- Keep track of your income and expenses
While no one is particularly keen on keeping track of their budget, this kind of practice can make all the difference in the world when it comes to balancing your income with your expenditures. By simply writing down whatever money comes in and out of your account, you’ll know just how much you need to survive on a monthly basis and can calculate your budget accordingly. You don’t even have to use any fancy programs, since a simple Excel sheet can get the job done in a pinch.
- Make smart purchases
Although it can seem rather counterintuitive at first, sometimes spending money leads to saving money. This only happens if you make smart purchases, however. For instance, investing in a quality printer can lead to considerable savings down the road by satisfying all your printing needs, even if it does set you back somewhat at first. Another example of an item that can really improve your bottom line is a mini-stove that you can use to cook your meals and save the money that you would’ve otherwise spent on eating out.
- Learn some basic money-saving skills
Speaking of eating, there are certain essential life skills that you’ll simply have to develop if you want to avoid going into the red month after month. Cooking is one of them, since the cost of preparing your own food is markedly lower than that of ordering takeout meals. You won’t have to become an overnight chef either, since just learning how to prepare a few basic meals can keep you covered throughout the week. You can also benefit a lot from learning how to sew your own clothing and how to properly wash and clean your living quarters.
- Be on the lookout for deals
In this competitive market, great deals are always available for those who look. Whether it’s saving some money on various goods and services via coupons or getting discount vouchers online, there are a myriad ways to be frugal. Don’t hesitate to explore all these avenues and see what you can find. What’s more, most students are also afforded various financial advantages when it comes to transportation cards, museum entries or library deals, and can even access special funds provided by the government in certain areas. Create a list of all the deals that you qualify for and be sure to use them whenever you can.
- Get a part-time job
If all else fails, the tried and true solution for money problems in college is the same one that adult people resort to all over the world. Getting a job might not always be fun and it may take away whatever precious free time you have, but it can definitely boost your savings and sometimes even allow you to broaden your horizons as well. Ideally, a part-time job would be best so you’ll still have enough time left to spend on school matters. Alternatively, an internship in your industry of choice might also work. Such positions usually don’t pay much at first, but they can open doors towards much more gainful employment down the line.
That concludes our quick overview of the five best strategies any student can employ to make the most out of their limited budget. Keep in mind that saving money should never come at the expense of your health and overall wellbeing. If you ever find yourself in dire straits, don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family for help. College is usually the time when your personality gets fleshed out, and you’re bound to run into the occasional snafu, but chances are you’ll come out at the other end all the better for having overcome such a significant challenge.