Going off to college is as exciting as it can be scary. There is freedom from your parent’s watchful eyes, opportunities to pursue your career dreams and make new friends, and also learn new experiences. Then there is the financial aspect which is less appealing.
For starters, you have living expenses that have to be met and a lot of time in your hands which you could spend on travel and new experiences but little money to spend. With tuition fees rising every year, college can be an expensive affair if you are not a full ride scholarship beneficiary. Without a budget and proper planning, going to college can leave your student debt that will take a huge chunk of your monthly salary for the rest of your life.
Budgeting is important for a memorable college experience and for your financial future. There is nothing more terrible than getting kicked out of your hostel for failing to keep up with the payments and getting listed for failing to repay your credit card debts. Things like these impact on your finances and ability to borrow post-graduation.
It is therefore important to draw a budget of your expenses against your money sources. Chances are you don’t have much experience in handling large sums of money and it is okay to ask your parents for help or enrol in a financial management class.
Tuition, transport and accommodation should be your priority. Other expenses like beer with the boys and travelling can come in later after you have settled your essential financial obligations. Financial security begins with a budget.
Take advantage of student discounts
Your student ID could save you lots of money in student discounts. Virtually every store and service provider have a discount for students. Some stores will advertise their student offers to attract more customers (you!) while others are a bit coy about it to avoid non-students taking advantage of it.
Ensure to ask for student offers whenever you are shopping for an item or a service. Ask hotels, retail and grocery stores if they have discounts for students and take advantage of such offers to save some money. However, if they don’t, don’t throw tantrums and be a tool about it.
Get a job
Some colleges have a work-study program to help students make honest leaving while pursuing their studies. You can help at your college cafeteria or the faculty for a few hours every day and make a few dollars to help offset some of your living expenses. This is a great way to build your reputation with the faculty members and also productively spend your free time.
You can also get a part-time job with a nearby store or company to earn a few extra bucks on the side. Sites like the Healthcare Salaries Guide indicate how much you can earn on different jobs.
Additionally, you use your skills to make money online by either completing projects for people or teach others new skills.
Do it yourself
You don’t have to pay for everything especially with a lot of time on your hands to learn and do it yourself.
With YouTube tutorials and other learning sites, you can learn how to make almost anything.