College can be described with several words: exciting, informative, thrilling, enlightening, and educative. College is tedious enough with the many assignments, tests, essays, and exams. An accurate description of the nitty-gritty of college will not be complete without mentioning the costs. To be honest, college can be pretty expensive. The tuition fees are usually a whole lot, not considering living and other miscellaneous expenses. Having to deal with college bills can be overwhelming and sometimes, really depressing, especially if you have to carry that burden alone.
It is not unusual to find a large proportion of college students constantly worrying about their finances. To eliminate some of this worry, it is incredibly useful to find an alternative source of income to fund daily living expenses, as well as the accompanying educational expenses. There will always be a long list of bills to sort out. However, that list will not sort itself out, not without money to spend.
As a college student, you will have to master the art of financial independence. Budgeting has to become an integral part of your financial life because money is never enough. Sometimes, income earned as a student is barely enough to cover essential needs. This is why it is important to keep track of all your income and expenses. You’ll need to avoid two habits common to most adults: under-budgeting and overspending.
Calculating your projected monthly income is a good start down the path to effectively managing your financial resources. It is a good idea to pen down your expected income from all sources and prepare a detailed budget based on that figure. Income sources may include hand-outs from parents and family members, salaries from part-time jobs, and inflow from a student loan or grant offerings. You can bolster your income by staying on the lookout for scholarships and bursaries that will be beneficial to you.
Preparing a detailed budget based on your calculated income is next. Your budget should include allocations for food, rent, transportation, daily living expenses, clothing, insurance, books, and whatever else you deem fit. In budgeting, however, it is necessary to arrange your needs in order of importance, sorting out the most important first, and the less important afterward. Your monthly budget is a roadmap to seeing you through the financial hurdles of the month. Your budget should not only contain expenditure. Always remember to set aside a portion of your budgeted income for savings. The savings could come in handy in the event of an emergency. Even better, you might come across investment opportunities that could help you grow your finances as a student. You’ll most likely not be able to take advantage of these opportunities if they come if you have no extra money tucked away, hence, the need for savings.
Learning to track your spending can save you a lot of financial hassle. Many times, students tend to run out of money fast. This may not always be due to available spending resources not being enough. A lot of the time, it can be due to poor tracking of expenditure. Expenditure tracking is useful in helping you get a proper hold of where your money is going. This saves you the confusion of having to figure out what it was all spent on when you run out of spending cash. You’ll then be able to re-appropriate your expenditure to focus more on essential causes and be able to make clear decisions on what expenditures to cut down on.
Finally, practice financial habits that save you money, such as shopping at discount stores, asking for student discounts in stores, making your coffee, selling off textbooks after each school year, avoiding social activities and gatherings that cause you to make unnecessary expenditure and fighting the urge to make purchases on impulse.
Money is always a worry in college. You can lighten that burden by being smart with your finances and making all the right financial decisions. Remember to always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities and added income sources.
See you on the other side!