Financial struggles among university students are prevalent. They need to learn how to save their money if they want to finish their studies. They may have a bad image of their money management skills. However, even with their newfound independence, they have to be responsible for their finances.
The bad reputation does not apply to everyone. Some students do not have money to burn, and their student loans cannot cover all their schooling expenses. There is no denying that because tuition and other costs increase each year. Many young people delay going to university. Living on a tight budget is feasible if only they are savvy about their funds.
Here are five ways you can try to ensure that your money lasts longer at university:
If you want to get your college diploma, you need to make a monthly student budget to stay on top of your finances. Budgeting offers the big picture of the money you have to make spending and saving decisions. If you have student loans, you can ensure that they are well-spent, and you enter the corporate world with manageable debt.
A spreadsheet is your best friend in budgeting because you can compare your yearly income and expenses at a glance. If you are not in the red, you can afford to save money monthly. You can track each dollar you spend to help you identify your spending patterns. You become more aware of how you are spending your cash, and hopefully, you can determine ways to change for the better.
If you can rationalize your spending decisions, you can save money by purchasing what you need. Sticking to your budget is essential, but it also has to be dynamic because some unexpected expenses may come along.
University schooling is expensive, and if you are not careful, your unpaid bills can add up. You need to prepare for September and January when you have to pay your tuition and buy the books you need. Making smart choices can help reduce their impact on your budget.
You apply for bursaries, scholarships, and awards. You will find it surprising that not many students request them. Therefore, you have a fat chance of receiving them if you strive to apply. You must be smart about paying tuition fees with a credit card. Generally, you pay 1.75% interest on what you owe. For instance, if you use it to pay your $3,000 tuition, you will be paying an extra $30 for the interest. You may try to pay your dues using a check or bank transfer.
If you have a meal plan with your residence hall, you need to take your meals at the dining halls. You can also save money if you buy used textbooks instead of purchasing new ones. To earn money, you can also sell your books when you no longer need them.
Food and Grocery Expenses
Food is one of your largest expenses each month. You may find it tempting to eat out always because it is an effortless alternative, but it is also the most expensive. If you adopt a DIY attitude, you can discover smart ways to hone your cooking skills to save time and money. You can cook meals in large quantities and store them in the freezer. If you have leftovers, you can bring them to school, especially if you can find microwaves on your campus.
Buying groceries in bulk can also give you the most value. You can buy family packs and share them with friends. Meal planning for the week ahead is also an essential practice that you can adopt. You can make a shopping list to avoid any impulse purchases. When you decide to buy what you need, you also reduce food gone to waste each week.
If you are a coffee drinker, you can buy your favorite coffee beans and make your coffee. You can put it in a travel mug that you can bring to school. If you are not reluctant to collect coupons and use them, you can also effectively slash your grocery bills.
Because we live in a consumerist culture, we may find it tempting to spend frivolously. However, this practice is a surefire way of living beyond our means. If you develop the willpower to resist the temptation, you can save tons of money too. Buying what you need can reduce the cash spent on unnecessary items. Learning to differentiate your needs from your wants can also control your urges to go for impulse buys.
The nearby discount stores are your best friends, and they need to be your go-to destinations if you are shopping for your needs. You may scour the thrift stores for used clothing. You can also buy generic products because they are cheaper than well-known household brands. You can save your precious dollars if you opt to buy the house brand products in groceries.
Do not be ashamed to ask for student discounts. Some stores do not advertise many of their deals, so do not be afraid to ask the store clerk. You can still have a happy and enjoyable social life in your university, but you need to know how to have fun without putting a dent in your wallet.
Deal with Debts
Students on a tight budget can lead them to acquire debts. And of course, not everyone can manage to work remotely and earning money while studying at university. Owing money can harm their mental wellbeing and their academic studies. For instance, you may struggle with an easy essay writing assignment because your debts affect you already. If you are in the same situation, you may take our advice on how to get out of debt.
You need to seek help if you find yourself deep in debt as early as possible. You must deal with the emails and letters as they come. Moreover, you can keep the correspondence for future reference. No one can help you if you are in denial about your debt issues.
Learn to prioritize your debts. If you have unpaid utility bills, mortgage or rent arrears, and income tax dues, you need to pay them immediately. Non-payment can directly affect your life if you do not make any effort to settle them. Credit cards, bank overdrafts, unsecured loans, and money you owe from family and friends are your non-priority debts. However, you have to schedule paying them because you incur penalties for non-payment too.
You do not need to suffer when you are in debt. You can share your money issues with people who can offer financial or moral support. Universities have services that provide help and advice too. You do not have to feel ashamed about your rising debts. For current debts, you need to tackle them immediately. You can renegotiate with your creditors for better repayment terms.