Budgeting during college is so important and can be tough sometimes. I am definitely working on managing my money better. Staying on budget freshman year is different than the later years because you are living in a dorm, eating in the dining halls, and lot of your expenses are paid for upfront in your Bursar bill. However, regardless of where you live or your class standing, you still have to budget. Here are my main tips on how to stay on budget:
- Plan your weekly or monthly budget
Either will work, it just depends on what you think works best for you. The budget can include your rent, utilities, etc., or it can just be for outside expenses like going out to eat, seeing a movie, or buying a new pair of shoes. It is all about what you think you can manage and what works best for you!
- Prioritize what you spend money on
Determine what is most important in your budget. This can include your monthly expenses or be designated for expenses outside of rent or your water bill. If you really value going out to eat on Fridays, maybe you will have to put other purchases on the back burner to meet your budget. It is important to be happy with how you are spending and managing your money, and prioritizing can be helpful.
- Use cash instead of your debit or credit card
I think we can all agree on how easy it is to mindlessly swipe our debit/credit cards without really thinking about the money we are actually spending. One thing that can help is getting enough cash out of the bank for the week or two ahead. This can better help you keep track of your money because it is physically taken from you when you buy something.
- Write down your spending
Each time you buy something, write it down in your planner or in the notes on your phone. This can serve as a good reminder every time you want to buy something you may not need. You can also see if you are staying on track for your weekly or monthly budget.
- Get a part time job
This one might seem a little random or unrelated, but getting a part time job can help you better meet your budget each week/month or give you a little extra spending money. There are many different places you could work on campus or off campus. Often you can find job postings on Classifieds and many of the jobs posted on there are close to campus, so even if you don’t have a car on campus, you can still get there easily.
College is one step closer to having a full-time job, so improving the way you manage and spend money now can be really helpful into the future too!