Whether a brand-new college student or about to be an alumni, finances are difficult, and they continue to haunt college students everywhere. From living on a ramen noodle diet to counting pennies to determine if you can afford to go to the movies, it happens to the best of us.
While finances are often a burden and sometimes hard to understand or deal with, these finance tips can help you get off on the right foot while you are in college.
Check them out!
- Make Yourself a Budget
Okay, let’s just put it out there. Having a budget in mind and having a budget on paper are two DIFFERENT things. You definitely want to take some time and sit down to make a budget. As you do this, think about each dollar that comes in and each dollar that goes out. This will allow you to gain better control of your money and you will not find yourself short every month. Uncontrolled spending can quickly land you in a debt hole.
- Avoid Plastic Cards
Credit card offers can be quite tempting, especially as a college student but you want to avoid those plastic cards as much as you can. Credit cards do not mean that you get free money that is being stored somewhere for you and you will end up paying for them PLUS interest. Therefore, if you spend $500 on a credit card, add interest and you may be paying $630 for that $500 purchase.
If you are trying to build your credit and want a credit card, choose one with a low interest rate, pay off your bill each month, and only use the card when you know you can pay it off when the statement drops.
- Automatic Payments Can Mean Overdraft Fees
If you are already on a tight budget, you may not want to sign up for automatic payment and instead utilize apps or reminders to help you pay your bills. While automatic payments are nice, they do come directly out of your account, so if you do not have enough funds in there, you will incur an overdraft charge and those charges are not cheap.
- Consider Buying Your Own Food
While the meal plan at school may seem like the right choice for you, it can be quite the expense, especially if you do not eat a lot of food. Sometimes, purchasing your own food is the better way to go, especially if you have a microwave or fridge in your dorm.
Meal plans are ideal for some students, so you will need to look into the plan, the cost, and consider how much you will eat.
- Only Borrow What You Need
Seeing that loan offer come in and cause you to jump for join but remember, you must pay it back at some point. This means that you want to limit how much you actually borrow to receive your degree. The lower the degree costs, the less you will pay back.
If you do need to borrow money to receive your degree, do not fear. Many students do. You should make sure to read over the loan terms, know the interest rates, and understand all aspects of the loan itself.
- Get A Job
While it does not sound like something you want to do, getting a job while in school such as a waiter, working a local storage unit facility or even participating in a work study program at your school can help you not only pay for school but also afford to live while you earn your degree. It is something to think about.
College is expensive. Living away from home is expensive. Consider the tips above to help you gain better control of your finances while you are away at college.