One of the most important (and scariest) things you may experience as a college student is sticking to a budget. It doesn’t sound like much fun, but unless you happen to be independently wealthy, sticking to a personal budget is something you will have to get used to while you are in college. The plethora of activities and spending opportunities in college tempt any student. However, it is important to learn how to manage finances at a young age. As an added benefit, this is one habit that will hold you in good stead after you graduate and have to manage on your own.
Here are a few handy tips that will help you stick to your personal budget in college:
Don’t Need It? Don’t Buy It!
This one may be easier said than done. Sometimes you may feel you just have to have a certain item, like that cute phone case or leather satchel. Before you give in to your urge to splurge, ask yourself what will happen if you don’t buy it. Do you already have a phone case, however basic? What about a purse—do you need another one? Also, how soon before the item is forgotten in a random cabinet of your apartment? Unless an item is an absolute necessity, learn to tell yourself no.
Scout for Discounts
Discounts are everywhere for college students, you just may need to do a little digging to find them. To start with, you are sure to find some great deals on campus at the book store. In addition, some college towns offer discounts at local eateries, bars, and grocery stores as well. Some national chain retailers such as Speedway, Wal-Mart, and larger grocery stores may also offer discount programs for college kids, tailored specifically to their needs. Discounts hide in your mobile phones too; many mobile applications are tailored toward students needing to save money. For example, Pocket Points collect in the time that a student studies without looking at their phone. These points can later be used to get discounts at local shops or online stores. You’ll be surprised at what you will find if you keep an eye out for student discounts.
Why Buy New When Secondhand Will Do?
Unless the textbooks have changed for the current year, you should avoid buying full-price textbooks and buy used instead. With the advent of online booksellers, it has become easier than ever to buy second-hand textbooks and when you are done, you can even put them back up for sale. Don’t forget to ask the school library or bookstore if there have a textbook rental program. Textbooks are the second-highest college expense after the tuition fees. You can help your budget by buying secondhand or renting.
Keeping receipts of all your purchases is the single best way to track what you are spending on and where you can cut back on. It’s easy to overlook the small expenses but when you are trying to stay on budget, it is important to do that.
Checking your receipts and calculating your monthly expenditure on the seemingly little expenses will give you a reality check on your expenses.
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