How to Budget Your Money While in College

Photo Credit: Liam Anderson,

College years are typically when a person learns to be independent in life. Your parents release you to the world, and you have the right and the freedom to get a job, get a car, and even drink. Unfortunately, college can also be a hard teacher if you don’t know how to spend your money wisely. In fact, one study shows that 7 out of every 10 college kids are very stressed about money. Coming up with a budget seems like the only way to survive college without huge debt. So, how do you budget your money in college?

  1. 1.      Keep it simple

Ideally, a budget is a balance of your income versus your expenditure. Income, in this case, is what you get from your parents or if you have a job, your salary. Make a list of everything you need while in college. This includes;

• Housing can be in-campus dorms or outside accommodation
• For groceries you need to make a good student shopping list that has basic stuff a student needs like pasta, rice, eggs, cheese, and biscuits.
• Transportation can include insurance, parking, fuel, and service if you are driving or bus fare if you use public means.
• Utilities include electricity, water, cable, internet, and gas
• Books need to be purchased every year
• Savings for those days that you have an emergency or you can use them after college.
• Entertainment to enjoy yourself with your friends once in a while.
• Miscellaneous can include laundry, fines, and buying something you come across.

  1. 2.      Use an app

A budgeting app is crucial because most students are not self-disciplined. The free tool on your phone will automatically give you a debit and credit statement of your spending and help you identify where you are going wrong. It’s a tracker so you cannot ignore your bad habits.

  1. Make use of free stuff

The best thing about college is the events and activities planned during the semester. Take advantage of those to eat and get entertainment instead of spending money. Use campus internet, use their free channels, and utilise the library and the entertainment hall to the fullest.

  1. Choose the right friends

Peer pressure is the biggest issue in college. Unless you have rich parents who can fund trips and buy designer wear, you should stay away from that crew. Living within your means is the most peaceful decision you can make. Choose friends who subscribe to your financial values will reduce peer pressure.

  1. Look for discounts

One of the best ways to save in campus is to eat campus subsidised food because it costs almost nothing. Be a master of looking at the best deals when shopping. You can do so online by staying abreast with sellers who are giving discounts, collecting coupons, and buying second-hand items.

The financial habits you form in college will transition to your life when you become a working-class adult. You will manage your finances and be debt-free, no matter how much money you make.

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