Welcome to college!
This might be the first time you’re making money-management decisions on your own, too. If you’re footing the bill for your education, you probably already appreciate the demands on your time and finances that will come from studying and working your way through college. It may be a good time for a crash course in budgeting.
Here are tips on figuring out how to budget while you’re in school:
- Figure out how much money you’re earning.
- Collect receipts and track how much money you spend.
- Analyze your expenses and determine what you can live without and where you can cut costs. Our Student Budget Calculator can help with that.
- Create a spending strategy and remain disciplined.
- If possible, set aside some extra money in a Savings Account that you can use to celebrate when you reach a financial goal.
- Understand that financial stability is better in the long run than overspending to impress people today.
To that last point, you’re probably not immune to peer pressure. With so many students experiencing financial and personal freedom in college, you’ll find yourself in situations where your friends encourage you to buy something you can’t afford or spend money on a trip or event that can put you in a difficult financial situation. You need to handle yourself responsibly or be prepared to face the consequences. For some college students, financial responsibility is a shock to their system and they don’t understand its importance until they’ve racked up thousands of dollars in debt. Irresponsible behavior today can impede your ability to borrow money for a home, car or anything else later in life.
After you’ve created a budget for this semester, take a look at some of these money-saving tips and habits to see if you can work them into your life at college.
- Reduce tuition costs by securing grants and scholarships throughout your college career.
- Earn transferable college credits by taking courses at less-expensive community colleges.
- Learn how to cook and invest in a slow cooker so you can make meals while you’re in class.
- Consider living with friends or family to defer room and board expenses.
- Scour the discount chain stores for less expensive school supplies. You also can find better deals if you buy in bulk, then split the cost with your friends.
- Go online to find cheaper textbooks and look for opportunities to rent your books from your library.
- Look for free entertainment on or near campus and take advantage of any discounts that local businesses offer to college students.
- Consider joining groups that offer numerous socializing opportunities (such as alumni groups) because you’ll often enjoy some free food while you get to network.
- Look for fun, thrilling and résumé-building excursions and experiences offered by on-campus groups and clubs at a discount.
- Consider whether you truly need a vehicle on campus. If you can walk, bike, skateboard or take public transportation, you’ll save a bundle of money in vehicle maintenance, insurance and parking fees. Plus, you’ll reduce your carbon emissions.
- Open a Student Checking Account with First American Bank.
You don’t have to be an economics major to figure out a responsible personal finance strategy. When it comes to your daily money management, don’t flunk the tests! Remember, First American Bank is here to help you pass with flying colors. Contact us to learn more or for advice on how to set up your student budget.