Realistic budgeting tips for college students to save money and stay out of debt.
Budgeting for college students is an important life skill that will save them in the future.
For new college students, starting a new chapter in life can be very overwhelming and somewhat stressful.
Until now, your parents/guardians have paid for your needs and wants (for the most part).
However, heading to college you are given more responsibility; especially in regards to the money, you will need while away from home.
College students should plan well in advance and budget their money wisely.
They should keep track of their spending habits so that they can avoid overspending on unnecessary things.
Many students don’t know how to budget in college – therefore leading to a future financial crisis.
Importance Of Budgeting For Students
Budgeting is an important skill to have as a student. It can help you keep track of your spending habits and show you where you are going wrong.
This is especially helpful in college when the temptation to spend money on unnecessary things is high.
In fact, the average college student spends about $547 per month on food.
This is a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere or saved for later in life.
The best budgeting tip for college students is to balance what they want and what they need.
As well as considering their future goals and how they plan on getting there.
There are so many advantages to budgeting.
How To Budget In College – 6 Budgeting Tips
Here are some simple budgeting tips for college students to save money.
Determine, Discuss, and Plan Financial Needs with Your Financial Education Contributors
Before college students begin to create a budget, you should determine who will be helping with your education expenses.
Make sure you include all scholarships and financial aid you have been given.
Then, sit down with those involved and decide who will be paying for different educational needs and wants you may have.
Some expenses include books, housing, transportation, tuition, meals, etc.
It is a good idea to open a bank account to allow a convenient way for those involved to deposit money into your account for these needs.
If you are working during college, your earnings will also be deposited in this account or a savings account.
List Pre-Determined and Extra Expenses
You will need to determine the expenses that are already in place.
These include tuition, textbooks, housing, food, etc.
When determining the cost of tuition, include all scholarships, financial aid, and loans you have been given.
If you have any money left to pay for the college or university bill, you will determine who will pay for this and set up a payment plan, if needed.
You will then need to list other expenses (not included in the college/university bill), such as clothing, supplies, textbooks, food, dorm essentials, etc.
By doing this, you know you already have this money set aside for these things.
Once you have decided how these expenses will be covered, you can move on to create a budget for additional spending for needs and wants while you are away at college.
Track Your Spending
Whether you have a parent/grandparent/guardian paying for everything or you are paying for everything on your own, it is important to decide how to save and what amount you can have for “extras” on a weekly basis.
You should start off by giving yourself a reasonable amount to spend weekly.
Once classes have started, you should track how much you are spending per week.
This includes toiletries, laundry, dining out, leisure activities, shopping, snacks, groceries, etc.
This tracking will help you determine unnecessary costs and eliminate those costs.
This will give you an idea about how much money you will have to put aside and plan for spending each week.
Download these free budget printables and post them on your memo board so you see them frequently.
Remember, someone else is paying for this educational experience or you are balancing a job with school to pay for this weekly allowance.
Therefore, do any and everything you can to cut costs and save money.
Since most students have a dining plan that is paid for or a kitchen in their dorm or apartment, avoid eating out every day.
Try your best to only eat out 2-3 times a week to budget the funds you have available.
It is a good practice to go to the grocery store for meals, snacks, and drinks to keep in your dorm or apartment.
Use frugal grocery shopping hacks to save the most money on food.
Always, be sure to use frugal life hacks every chance you can.
Spending 50 cents to $1.00 for a snack out of the vending machine can become very expensive.
Make sure to also ask yourself, “Am I spending too much on unnecessary wants?”
With that in mind, you may need to eliminate some expenses.
However, you definitely do want to have fun and buy things you just want but don’t overdo it.
You can use free budgeting apps like SaverLife to help you save even more money.
Utilize Every Discount and/or Freebie Available
In order to make the best of the money you are given or the money you are earning, you will find that research and planning is very important.
You can find and use retailer/restaurant apps with rewards/discounts when available.
Most businesses offer apps with rewards that will allow you to save more money when used.
Another tip is to shop/dine with companies that will offer a discount to college students.
Using these discount and rewards programs will allow you extra money to put in your budget for spending or to put into a savings account.
Some people think that saving money is hard, but using money-saving life hacks like discounts and freebies make it easy!
Find Ways To Make Extra Money
College students should not be afraid of making some extra money during their college years.
There are many ways to make extra money in college.
Students can get a job on campus or off campus.
They can also work as a tutor or freelance writer, or they can even start a business on the side.
Many college students work as virtual assistants running social media for companies.
If you don’t really have time for a side gig, then you can easily make extra money doing 5 minute surveys with SurveyJunkie.
There are plenty of creative ways to make extra money.
If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in good shape financially, then you can start planning for the future.
You should put any extra money you haven’t spent from your weekly/monthly budget into a savings account and/or emergency fund.
This may be helpful if any unexpected expenses arise, life after college, or this can be used for paying off student loans.
There are a lot of banks that offer different rates for their savings accounts.
Here are some tips to find the best savings account for you.
- Check the APY or interest rate. Some banks offer a higher interest rate than others. This can be helpful when you want to earn more money in your savings account.
- Look at the minimum balance needed to avoid monthly fees and penalties. Some banks require a much higher balance than others, which may not be worth it if you have a small amount of money saved up in your account.
- Make sure that the bank is reputable and has good customer service reviews.
CITBank is a great option if you want to earn more money on your savings.
Budgeting For College Students
A lot of college students have the mindset that they will be rich and successful when they graduate from college.
Unfortunately, many students are in extreme debt once they graduate.
That is why budgeting for college students is so important so you can start saving money for your future expenses.
You should start using these budgeting tips for students as soon as possible.
This will help you out in the long run and it’s a great way to create a better financial situation for yourself.