Money Management in College
While seeing all that financial aid money stashed in your bank account all at once might seem like a very generous figure, you need to remember that money is supposed to last you the entire semester and not just a few weeks. You’ll need to conserve and make your money stretch. Here are some great money-management and saving tips every college student needs to know.
Whether you’re writing down all of your spending habits in a notebook or using some sort of calculating software on your computer or smartphone, you need to track where you’re spending most of your money. Are you buying too many Starbuck frapps or too many Big Macs? Keeping track of your money is a great way to see where you can afford to cut back. Once you’ve established where you can cut back, set a weekly budget. Restricting yourself to a specific limit will help your money last longer and prevent you from splurging or making any unnecessary purchases.
Carrying cash is another good way to manage your funds. Swiping your credit card is way too easy and can cost you hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees if you end up spending money you don’t have. After you give yourself a weekly spending limit, try to carry that amount in cash. This way, when you’ve spent your limit, you’ll know because you’ll be out of cash. It takes a lot of self-control not to use your credit or debit card once the cash is gone, but do your best to resist. On the same note, be aware of your credit card limit and always monitor your bank account. Statements can easily be viewed either by accessing your bank’s ATM or checking your account online. It’s imperative that you are aware of how much money you have at all times.
Your college ID can help you save as well. Most students are unaware that their college I.D. is a gold mine. In most college towns, students can use their college I.D. to get a variety of savings on food, movies, museums even some concerts and theater shows.
Finally, whether it’s you cell phone bill or light bill, make sure that you make timely payments. Late fees can add up and you don’t want to have to readjust your budget to factor in these unnecessary fees. If you feel as if your funds are running low and you need some quick cash to make it through the week, you can always recycle aluminum cans, donate plasma or sell old books and clothes at consignment and resale shops. But if you are desperately in need of help, some colleges offer emergency fund loans. Check with you university to see if the institution offers these types of loans.