Budgeting in college can be challenging. Here are some ways to save.
Budgeting is difficult for most people. In fact, a little more than 55% of Americans do not use a budget to manage their income, according to a survey by The Penny Hoarder. In addition, 56% of respondents said they don’t know how much money they spent the month before.
While budgeting is difficult for most, budgeting in college can be extra challenging. Going to school full-time leaves little opportunity to earn money. The cost of tuition, housing, food, and books leaves very few funds for other expenses.
Although budgeting can be challenging when you earn little income, it’s even more valuable for that reason. Keeping track of what you spend can help you make cuts where possible and prioritize paying off debt so you start your career without a large amount of debt looming over you.
Budgeting in college can be done. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Find an app that works for you.
Budgeting in college is easier when you use an app. There are many different money management apps to choose from, and some are free. Do your research and find the right app for you. The easier an app is to use and the more you enjoy the interface, the more likely you are to use it long term.
Prioritize debt repayment.
Debt can be paralyzing. You might take the wrong job after college just to pay off debt. Too much debt can lead to bad credit, which can make it difficult for you to get additional student loan funding or even impact where you live. Whether it’s high interest credit card debt or your student loans, prioritizing debt repayment will pay off. There are different strategies to paying off debt. You can prioritize those loans with the highest interest to reduce what you will owe overall or prioritize paying off smaller debts for quick wins. Either way, dedicating some of your earnings towards paying down or off your debt will help set you up for a healthy financial future.
Take out cash for fun expenses.
Once you create a budget and know exactly how much money you have for fun expenses, take out that amount in cash. By using cash for extra expenses, you can ensure you don’t overspend and keep track of what you are spending. Just don’t take any extra trips to the ATM.
Use coupons and student discounts.
One of the advantages of being a student is that you can leverage student discounts. Colleges typically have a directory or website where you can find your student discounts. You can take advantage of everything from free shipping on eligible items on Amazon to discounts on laptops and more.
Take community college courses.
Some community college classes are transferable to four-year universities. These classes can cost a fraction of what they cost at universities. By taking these courses at community college, you could save thousands of dollars. You can meet with your college or high school counselor for a list of which community college courses are accepted by your university and for your degree.
Budgeting in college can be challenging with the many expenses that come along with being a student and earning little income. However, there are ways to budget and save. Use a budgeting app to keep track of your spending and make cuts where possible. Keep to your budget and make sure to add a line item for savings and paying off debt. Take out cash for fun expenses to limit what you spend on non-essential spending. Leverage coupons and student discounts to save when possible. Take community college courses that are transferable to save thousands of dollars.