If you are in college, one of the big concerns you might have is how you are doing in terms of your grades. This is because you would want to pass and ace your studies. However, another important aspect of college life is finances, and you might be wondering, how can I manage money as a college student prudently?
When you are in college, away from home, balancing that bank account can suddenly feel monstrous and overwhelming.
If you are not careful, you can lose control over your finances very quickly.
Managing your money in college requires a certain amount of skill and willpower but you can do it with these proven tips.
And while picking out the perfect dorm decor might seem important, do not neglect the deeper subjects.
11 Tips and Tricks to Manage Money as a College Student
Here are some tips, tricks and ideas that you can use as a student to manage your finances wisely.
- Have a budget and stick to it.
- Watch and track your spending habits.
- Set up a checking account.
- Do not use a credit card.
- Buy used school books.
- Eat your meals at home.
- Take up a side hustle.
- Leverage technology.
- Have some financial limits.
- Keep your personal data confidential.
- Talk to your school student advisor.
Let us now talk a little bit more about them.
How Can I Manage My Money as a Student – Tips and Strategies
While as a college student you might roll your eyes at the idea of making a budget, knowing how to manage money is vital to your college experience.
You need the tools to start your college life on the right financial foot.
Have a Budget and Stick to it
Most of us don’t realize how much we spend every week or every month. We add up the big purchases and completely discount the smaller amounts that we spend.
If you kept track of your expenses faithfully for a month, you’d be shocked at how much the ‘smaller’ purchases can add up to.
The same thing can happen in college. If you do not keep track of your income and expenses you could be in for a rude awakening. Don’t wait for that to happen.
Instead, create a budget right at the outset. In addition to helping you stay out of debt, it will also give you great insight into your spending habits.
In your budget, first make a list of all your income sources, including savings, parental allowance, and income if you are working. Then make a list of your estimated expenses for the month.
This list should include essentials such as school supplies, personal care items, food, travel and laundry, and non-essentials such as going to the movies, late-night snacks, socializing, and eating out.
There are several personal finance and budgeting apps available online. Use one of these to help you track your expenses and stick to your budget.
Your expenses should not be more than your income at any time. Spending more than you make is a surefire way to slide into debt.
Consider your budget a winner if you can create one that lets you save a portion of your income every month!
Watch and Track Your Spending Habits
Are you an impulse shopper? If you are, you will have to change your spending habits and learn to exercise restraint. Start by learning to distinguish between your needs and wants.
That expensive software that you had not accounted for in your budget may be necessary for the program you are enrolled in but do you really need to buy the most expensive pair of running shoes? Think of what it will do to your budget. Is it worth it?
Even if the purchase is not likely to upset your budget, if you don’t need it don’t buy it. Instead, it may be a better idea to put that money towards repaying your loan earlier.
If you have to choose between two ‘needs’, prioritize what you spend on and buy the second item later. Try as much as possible not to borrow money unless absolutely necessary.
Set Up a Checking Account
Many banks offer students free checking and saving accounts facilities, which help students save on withdrawal or fund transfer fees.
Find out which banks offer this facility to college students and preferably set up a checking account with a bank that convenient ATMs located in close proximity to the college campus to save on out-of-network charges.
Do not Use Credit Cards
Carrying a credit card is so much more convenient than having to carry cash around everywhere. On the flip side, however, it does encourage impulse buying and before you know it you could amass a large amount of debt.
College is a great time to start building your credit score, which will make it easier for you to purchase a vehicle or lease an apartment after you graduate.
To build good credit score, you must learn to be a responsible credit card user. Some things you should and should not do:
Do not go over your spending limit.
Always pay off your credit card balance before the deadline every month. Late payments can be very steep and can push you further in debt.
Try as much as possible not to take cash advances on your credit card. The interest on cash advances is very high and you will end up paying much more for whatever you spend the cash on.
Buy Used School Books
It is scary how much a brand new set of textbooks costs. Brand new editions of some subject textbooks can cost upwards of $300 each.
Instead, buying used textbooks from the previous year’s students can cost you much less.
There are also certain sites online that sell used textbooks for much less than the brand new price. Buy whatever textbooks you can second hand and only then consider buying brand new. You can save a bundle this way. Ebooks are also a cheaper alternative than buying brand new hardbound books.
You can also make some money selling your old books instead of stacking them in the attic or throwing them out.
Let the students in the lower class know that you are selling your textbooks at the end of the year so anyone who is interested can book it from you in advance.
Eat Your Meals At Home
You would be surprised at how much you can save by simply eating most of your meals at home.
You don’t have to give up eating out completely but those few indulgences aside, cooking at home is cheaper and it’s healthier too!
Visiting a local supermarket and stocking up on ingredients for the week beats grabbing a quick sandwich or soda from the nearest deli.
Take up a Side Hustle or Job
Earning some extra cash is a great way to manage your money. Consider this option only if you can find some work opportunity that does not hinder your studies.
Even a part-time job or working only a couple of hours a week is a great way to add to your income and pay off your student loan interest early.
Managing your money in college may seem overwhelming at first but if you lay the groundwork for smart budgeting and spending habits right at the outset, it will become easier for you.
More importantly, you will learn to handle money more responsibly, a skill that will stand you in good stead years after you graduate.
You can also use a college raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the United States of America.
As a college student, I know you might not likely to sit down and go over your finances in an Excel spreadsheet – especially when there are better options available.
Instead, I would suggest that you consider using an online services or smart phone app that makes money management easy and convenient.
After all, that smart phone is practically glued to his or her hand anyway.
Some apps, such as Mint, make money management easier for a busy or forgetful college student. Mint enables users to upload bank account and expense information so he or she can manage all of his or her accounts in one place.
The app makes budgeting a little more accessible for a college student who is busy and on-the-go. This ensures fewer missed payments and penalties, as well as easy access to account balances.
In addition to money management apps, make sure you also take the time to set your online banking services so you can transfer money online or use mobile deposit.
Have Some Financial Limits
One way to ensure that you manage your finances as a student prudently is to set up financial limits on items.
Having a spending limit does not make you mean to yourself as a student. However, it gives you a framework to assess how you spend money, and also helps you in determining whether a purchase is really necessary.
Keep Your Personal Data/Information Confidential
When it comes to identity theft, college students are some of the hardest hit and the most oblivious to the crime.
According to a Javelin Strategy and Research, the 18 to 24 demographic has the highest risk for identity theft.
Not only that, but the average individual from that demographic took 132 days to detect and report the fraud.
The results of Javelin’s 2020 Identity Fraud Survey serve as a wake-up call, one that will force financial institutions, businesses, and the payment industry to re-evaluate how identity fraud is managed.
Total identity fraud reached $16.9 billion (USD) in 2019, yet the dollar loss is only part of the story.
This means that in order to manage money as an oil and gas student, you need to keep your personal information confidential.
You should take great care of simple things like not sharing your password to friends, not providing your social security numbers, or leaving your documents lying around.
To catch theft before it goes too far, you should check bank and credit accounts regularly, reporting any suspicious activity immediately.
There is, however, an argument for an identity security service such as LifeLock if your student thinks his or her identity has already been compromised.
Talk to Your School’s Student Advisor
In most colleges, there is always a student advisor. You should consider talking to him or her, and seeking advise on how to manage your money as a student.
You might find that there is a course he or she can recommend, or even be able to advise you on available opportunities to make some money while in college.
In conclusion, going or starting college ushers in a new era for your life as a student. It is important to ensure that you have the right financial advice to help you on how to manage money as an oil and gas student.
Having a solid foundation of financial planning will help you through the college years without making a lot of financial mistakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can students spend money wisely?
Here are some of the ways oil and gas students can save and spend money wisely;
- Make a budget – this will help you know where all of your money go.
- Make investment decisions based on your needs.
- Use the available student discounts.
- Look out for part time jobs.
- Reuse some of the things.
- Eat food at home and not buying it all the time.
- Cut down the vices – change your habits.
- Use alternative ways of transportation.
How can a student save money everyday?
As an oil and gas student, there are ideas you can use to manage your money today;
- Combine resources – you can combine your money with a friend to buy things together, like books.
- Create your monthly budget – you do not have to make it complicated. Be simple and create a budget.
- Plan your purchases – ensure you plan on how to spend your money on purchases.
How do college students manage money?
If you are an oil and gas college student, you can utilize these tactics to start managing your money;
- Practice first, and then budget.
- Make some money.
- Open checking and savings accounts.
- Start building credit and know the terms.
- Research decisions about the future.