College is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Between figuring out what classes to take and worrying about how you’re going to pay for all of them, college can feel like its own unique type of hell. It’s easy to start panicking when you realize that your tuition bill is going up every year and your bank account balance is going down every month; however, there are some simple strategies you can use to avoid going broke while in college.
Start with a budget and stick to it.
This is the most essential step. The rest of these steps won’t matter much if you don’t have a budget. The best way to start is by taking your total expected income for the semester and dividing it by 12. This will give you an average monthly income that can be used as a guideline for how much money should go into various accounts each month.
From there, create separate categories such as rent/utilities, groceries, gas/transportation, and entertainment/fun money so that specific amounts are designated for each category every month. If necessary, you may also want to consider creating other categories such as books or transportation costs.
If you get paid twice per month, then divide those totals by two. If not, just add up all of the individual monthly amounts together at the end of each week or month, depending on how often you get paid, before dividing them into their appropriate categories based on what needs taking care of right away versus later.
Start a side hustle.
If you’re a student, you have time. Start small, build up your skills, and then expand. There are many side hustles out there that can help you make money while in college.
Digital marketing for financial advisors, sales for MLM companies, and freelance writing are some ways you can make money in college. You can find other ideas by browsing the internet or asking friends who might be doing something similar for their business.
You don’t necessarily need to start with the highest-paying job either; if it’s something that interests you and doesn’t require too much effort or skill development at first, give it a shot! Once you’ve proven yourself to be reliable and good at what you do (which shouldn’t take long), ask your customers if they’d like another service offered by your business. If so, add an additional service option to what was already being provided and charge accordingly.
Put extra money away in savings.
If you’re like most college students, your bank account is probably running on fumes. Between the price of tuition, books, and living expenses, it’s no surprise that your money can disappear quickly. However, there are many money-saving tips for filling up those empty pockets while still enjoying college life.
Here are some tips on how to save money:
- Skip the coffee shop. If you’re a coffee drinker, you know it can add up fast. Instead of making daily trips for java, try brewing your own at home with a cheap coffee maker or by using k-cups. You’ll save money and avoid spending hours in line at the campus café.
- Buy used textbooks. The price of textbooks can vary greatly depending on the class and your major. But no matter what subject you’re studying, chances are pretty good that some of your books will be available as used versions online or at other bookstores. You can save a lot of money by purchasing used textbooks.
- Cut down on eating out. Eating out can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet during college life. It’s easy to grab something quick and convenient rather than cook something yourself, but doing so will cost you much more than cooking at home would.
Do your research before making big purchases.
Before making a big purchase, look at all the options and see what else is available. Often, there will be a better deal out there that is just as good or maybe even better than what you originally wanted. Don’t forget to take advantage of all the free things available. There are tons of free events, activities, and resources at college that can help save you money. Check out the student association’s website or bulletin board in your dorms to learn more about what is offered where you’re going to school.
I hope these tips will help you avoid going broke while in college. Remember that they’re just suggestions, and if one of them doesn’t work for you, try the next one until something does!