Today’s College 101 post is all about budgeting. Everyone knows that college students tend to not have a ton of extra cash… that’s why we can always use the excuse, “But I’m a broke college student!” As nice as it would be to receive money from your parents to pay all of your expenses, that is not always the case! My parents do help me pay for college expenses, but I am 100% on my own for food, gas, and any fun things I want to go do with my friends. Below are my tips I have learned from budgeting in college!
Give yourself wiggle room:
Summers are the perfect time to work hard and save up money. Working 40 hours a week is easy to do in the summer when you don’t have school in the way. Usually during the school year I only have time to work less than 20 hours a week, so saving up during the summer gives me some wiggle room during the school year when I am not making a lot of money.
Put aside money every month to pay expenses:
Whether you’re paying utilities to your housemates or needing an oil change on your car, put aside money each month that is to only be used to certain expenses. When the time comes around for those expenses to be paid, you aren’t surprised and left owing people money.
Get a part-time job:
Luckily, a lot of universities create jobs for its student population. At my school, it was actually pretty difficult to find a on-campus job because they are in such high demand. The convenience of working where you go to school is so nice! I knew I needed to make money, but did not have the time or resources to commute to a job in the community so I opted to do whatever I could to find a student job. Although I am not making much more than minimum wage, I make enough to pay for groceries, utilities, and special occasions.
It’s okay to say no:
You are going to have friends who have more financial freedom than you, which makes it hard to do the expensive things they want to do. You have to realize it is okay to say no to an invite to go to a five-star dinner in downtown or to the mall for the 100th time that month. Don’t be ashamed if you can’t afford something. Instead, offer a cheaper alternative and if your friends still would rather spend the money, take a rain check!
Create a monthly budget:
Above I talked about how it is important to put aside money for expenses each month. An easy way to know what financial obligations are heading your way is to create a monthly budget. Calculate how much money you’ll be making during the month then set aside a certain amount for food, bills, gas, and fun things like going out to dinner with friends or shopping! There are a lot of great apps that can help you with this. Map out your month so you can be responsible with your money, but also treat yourself.
I hope these tips help you budget for college!