Are you a college freshman who is about to embark on one of the biggest adventures of your life? If so, your days likely consist of prepping for the big move and getting your life in order. Sourcing textbooks, packing up your old room, shopping for new stationary supplies, putting your personal items in just a few boxes – it’s all part of the move and the excitement that comes with this next stage of life.
You’ll be standing on your own two feet in just a very short time and you need to be prepared for all that this involves. Becoming more financially aware and being smart with that knowledge will be essential if you want to stretch your money as far as it can go. On that note, we’re going to cover some of the most important points you should know about money and how to manage it when in college.
Paying for Your Education
Taking advantage of student loans from private lenders give students access to cash to complete their studies without having to worry about the financial burden of fees and accommodation costs. Before enrolling, know how you’re going to pay for college and do as much research as possible to ensure you’re getting the best interest rates and repayment terms.
Avail of Student Discounts
Become a master of finding the best student discounts and your bank balance will thank you for it. Check local restaurants, entertainment venues, transport services and stores to see what kind of discounts and special promotions they’re offering to students.
Create a Budget and Stick to It
Remember that the money you get into your account needs to last the entire term. No splashing out when the funds hit. Creating a budget is key to knowing where your money is coming from and where it’s going. There’s the option of doing things the old-fashioned way with an excel doc or why not download one of the many budgeting apps on your phone? They’re very easy to use with visual charts and extra bonus features to help keep you on track.
Cook at Home
You don’t need us to tell you that eating out all the time can put a big hole in your bank account. Learn how to cook some of your favorite meals and make an effort to cook dinner at home at least 3-4 nights per week. You can check your local store for deals on perishable food items and fresh fruit and veg that’s nearing its use-by date. Stock up on items that are on sale and be shrewd when it comes to where you shop and let your pocket guide you.
Cut Back on Spending
You may need to cut back on splurging and put your impulse buying habits on hold. Instead, be more conscious about what you’re buying. Ask yourself if you really need it, will the item add value to your studies, and can you really afford to buy it. If the answer is no, don’t think twice and put the item back on the shelf. Now is a time to invest in your education, not your wardrobe or handbag collection.
Smart Credit Card Use
Being smart with how you use your credit card (or your parent’s card) is essential if you want to learn the importance of having a good credit score and how it can impact your future. Learn how to control your spending and always make the repayments on the dedicated date each month. Where possible, it’s always a good idea to set up direct payments so bills like subscriptions are paid on time. Check your statements monthly to review the activity and pinpoint any areas where you could make improvements on spending.
Set Up a Savings Account
Saving will become more important with each passing year that you’re in college. The earlier you start to build a savings fund that you can use for major expenses or for an emergency, the better. Even if it’s just a few dollars here and there or putting your spare change into a moneybox, you will be glad of the extra funds when you need cash. Also, developing these good financial habits will leave you in a better position when you do graduate and enter the workforce. Learn how to save now and your future self will thank you for it.