22 May Tricks to Becoming Financially Secure in College
Going to college comes with many changes and adjustments and marks the beginning of your independence, both personal and financial. While this newfound independence is fun and exciting, it also comes with responsibilities, especially when it comes to managing finances. Establishing smart spending and saving habits is important for your present and future financial security. Here are a few tricks to help you become financially secure in college.
Make a budget- and stick to it
One of the best ways to manage your money is by making a monthly or weekly budget. It doesn’t have to be intense or super specific, but just enough structure to keep you from overspending each month. Start with your fixed expenses like rent, then to basics like grocery buying, eventually working your way down to random expenses like going to the movies or buying a new outfit. Also keep in mind that you should aim to live below your means, not just within, so that you have wiggle room in case an unexpected big expense comes your way.
Look for work on the side
Getting a job in addition to being a full-time student may sound like too much, but with some time management and a study schedule, you may be able to manage to have a part-time job while in school. On campus jobs are often very flexible and are able to work around your school and study schedule. You could also find freelance jobs that allow you to create your own schedule and work on your own time. Having even part time income will help you stick to your budget and begin saving money.
Find little ways to make extra cash
If a part time job just isn’t an option for you, explore other ways to make extra cash. Consider starting your own business. You could use your photography skills to take special occasion photos or headshots for your friends’ LinkedIn pages. If you have a craft you enjoy, like painting or making jewelry, try selling your creations. You could also sell your old clothes or devices you no longer use but are in good condition. Finding little ways to make some extra spending money will help you save and keep you from spending outside of your budget.
Take advantage of discounts
Taking advantage of discounts and good deals doesn’t mean you have to become a coupon clipping bargain hunter. With just a little bit of research, you can find many simple ways to save money. Being a student gives you certain discounts at movies, restaurants, and more, so don’t be afraid to pull out that student ID. You can also download apps like Hooked, which gives restaurant deals to college students, or Groupon, with discounts for everything from restaurants to music and live events, to help you enjoy activities with your friends without breaking the bank.
Protect your credit
Many students get their first debit or credit card when they head to college, and it’s important to understand the responsibilities that come with them. You may also have student loan debts you are responsible for paying back. When it comes to debts such as student loans or credit cards, don’t fall behind on payments. Establishing good credit early on will be important for future purchases like a car or receiving a loan.
Check your finances regularly
Another good habit to cultivate is keeping track of your spending. Sign up for email alerts or download a financial tracking app to keep tabs on your spending habits and alert you when you are spending too much. You should avoid overspending by sticking to your budget, but every once in awhile you may need a reality check. That’s where tracking your finances helps.
Save, save, save
The earlier you start saving, the better off you’ll be in the future. By sticking to your budget, looking for opportunities for income, and tracking your finances, you can set yourself up to begin saving money for the short and long term. Create smart spending and saving habits now to help you through adult life, and help if you ever find yourself in a financial pinch.
It’s easy to rack up expenses in college, especially if it’s the first time you are practicing financial independence. But by following these tips and holding yourself accountable for your expenses and spending, you can develop habits for financial security that will last long after you have earned your degree.