Figuring out how to budget and save money is one of the hardest lessons college students learn during their years in both undergrad and graduate school. For many, college is the first time in their life that they have had to actively manage their money. There are bills to be paid, car payments, food and gas, and many other expenses that arise during college.
Saving money can be difficult, especially for those who have never done it before. However, college is the perfect time to learn, as expenses only get more real the older a person ages. Thus, here are some money-saving tips for college students to learn in order to build a solid financial foundation for their future.
One of the first aspects to being a good steward of money is to learn how to budget. Each month, create a budget that includes all estimated expenses and current income. A budget allows you to allocate money to whatever category it fits in: food, bills, savings, entertainment, etc. A budget is important, because you can see exactly what you are spending your money on. Many blindly swipe credit cards, not realizing that there is actually no room in the budget for those expenses, which can lead to debt and other financial struggles.
There is no shame looking for a deal or discount on expenses, especially on bills. Contact your billing companies and ask them if they have any current discounts you are applicable for. Additionally, look into competing companies. For instance if you are using cable and find you are spending too much per month on entertainment, consider looking into Direct TV, as they have many packages to choose from. Order Direct TV here.
- Credit Cards
Credit cards are a tricky area, as they can pose a huge problem for many people. On the other hand, when used responsibly, credit cards can be extremely beneficial, as they help you build credit, and can earn you quite a few rewards. Building credit is important, for it can help you lease an apartment, home, or car.
The key to credit cards is to use them without abusing them. Make sure each credit line you have is paid off each month in full, as to not accrue added interest. Paying only the minimum amount each month will lead to debt and hurt your credit score, which will in turn hurt your financial future.
- Student Loans and Financial Aid
It is easy to forget about impending student loan payments, as they are technically not due while you are in school. However, it can be a huge reality check come graduation if you have not taken a look at how much you owe. It is important to be on top of your student loans so that you can apply for financial aid and other scholarship opportunities to help decrease the amount you will owe in student loans.
These four tips can help you keep track of your money, and prepare you for the future.