For many individuals, being a college student gives them first-hand experience in living far away from parents. But as exciting as it is, it entails some of the biggest responsibilities you will have to face, including working on your budget. Aside from dealing with your studies, you also have to worry about the cost of transportation, food, accommodation, books, and more, ensuring that your allowance lasts as long as it should. Below we‘ve written some tips to help you survive the expenses of a college or university student.
A budget includes two elements- your income and your expenses. As a student, you might not exactly be an income-earner (unless you have a part-time job), but you can receive financial support from your family, student loans, and grants. As early as now, you need to start working out on your budget, and in order to do that, you must know exactly how much money is coming by the start of each week or month. If you’re planning to continue your studies in the summer months, remember to plan for them ahead of time.
Once you’ve figured out how much your income is, you can now work on your expenses. List down all of your expenditures, trying to cut back on some of them as much as you can. Be sure that your expenditures do not exceed your income, or else you will always run short.
What if Your Expenditures are Higher than Your Income?
If you are facing this problem, don’t worry, because you are not alone! Here are four solutions we can recommend to help you out of your financial problem:
Reduce Your Expenses. In most cases, it’s just a lack of spending knowledge that is giving you a hard time keeping up with your finances. The first thing you need to do is to take a careful look at what you’ve been putting your money into, and decide on which areas you can cut back on. Perhaps you’ve been eating out quite too often, or have been spending your Fridays sipping £10 margaritas. Making some small sacrifices can mean a huge difference in your college budget.
You don’t have to miss out on your social circles or bury yourself in your books to escape the need to spend. Some simple things can add up in time, like choosing to cook three times a week instead of ordering, or borrowing books instead of buying them.
Seek Other Avenues of Income. On the other hand, if you find yourself short of cash regardless of how much you try to reduce your expenditures, consider getting yourself a part-time job. Consider babysitting, being a library assistant, walking dogs, or tutoring younger students during your spare time. If you’re worried about compromising your studies, you can do this on weekends and on the holidays.
Talk to an Adviser. In most colleges and universities, you can often find a student money adviser, who will gladly help out in managing your finances. Remember that you are not the only one who’s struggling to study and budget at the same time. Just be honest about your needs and you can go a long way.
Explore Your Borrowing Options. If all else fails, perhaps you need to borrow money to cover for the difference. You’ll most often find that the cheapest option is an interest-free overdraft, but there are still other options left. However, don’t be tempted to borrow more than what you need, or else you’ll find yourself in a bigger debt situation right after you finish college.