This is a post by Samantha Lawson. A recent graduate, Samantha uses the experiences she gained in college to help others with budgeting and saving money.
Being a student has perhaps never been tougher. The increased cost of living and the higher tuition fees have squeezed the students more than ever. So what can you do to make life a bit easier and start your financial future off on the right foot?
1) Get a Part-Time Job
More students than ever are having to turn to part-time work to make ends meet, sometimes, sadly, to the detriment of their studys. Choosing the right type of work is of paramount importance. Not enough hours will leave you short of cash, but too many hours will have a detrimental effect on your studying.
Bar work is popular with students but the late night nights can take their toll. Weekend retail jobs or evening shifts in a supermarket can fit in well with your schedule. There may also be jobs advertised at your college or grad school so always keep an eye out!
2) Pay Your Bills on Time
The next time a utility or credit card bill flops lands in your mail, pay it right away. If you cannot pay it right away contact the company and let them know. They might be able to put the bill on hold for you to avoid late payment fees.
3) In Case of Emergencies
Unplanned expenses do crop up from time to time. Whether it is purchasing extra course books, a fridge breaking down or a plumbing disaster, some things just cannot be helped.
A credit card can be useful but make sure that you shop around for the right one. You can find credit cards for bad credit that won’t cost an arm and a leg but keep clear of high interest credit arrangements which may lead you into a worse financial situation. I also recommend that you try to have a three to six-months savings for emergencies. If possible, try your hardest to have some cash on hand just in case.
4) Sensible Shopping Habits
It is all too easy to pull up your favorite online shopping site with that awesome sale going on right now. Unsubscribe to those sale emails so you won’t be tempted. Before you click the ‘but’ button ask yourself “Do I really NEED this?” If the answer is no, then don’t make the purchase!
Also, try to keep your eating out to a minimum and cook more at home. This will drastically cut your expenses.
Final Thoughts on How to Save Money in College
Lots of little steps can change your big financial picture, but none of these steps should involve any great level of sacrifice. At the end of the day, it is all about making life easier, not harder. Find a way to strike a balance between saving time and saving money so you can leave college in the best financial situation possible.
What are your tips to save money in college and grad school?