It’s college time and all you want to be doing is thinking about having a good time instead of worrying about where your money is going or how you’re going to pay for fees, nights out and textbooks. You don’t have to be a finance guru or have thousands in your account to manage your money and survive college.
Set a budget
Without having a budget in place you are unlikely to have any control over your finances. So the first thing to do is figure out your expenses – fixed and variable – and your wants vs your needs. On this list you should be including tuition, books, nights out, food, phone bill, internet connection and any other expense you might have.
Opt for second hand
If you’re strapped for cash, the best thing to do is try and save by buying items second hand. Usually text books are very expensive. Instead of buying the new stuff, see if you can buy them second hand from previous students. Check out the college noticeboards, Internet or just ask around. You can save hundreds of dollars. The same goes for clothes. You can sometimes find great items at op shops that have never been worn and sometimes even have tags still on them. You don’t have to buy expensive to look good. Instead you can stay trendy for much less.
Living on campus sounds like fun, but it can be expensive. Do you have a cheaper option? Maybe sharing a place with friends and splitting the costs between three or four. You don’t need your own place, sometimes having a room mate is more fun and a huge saving on your bank balance. Make sure you’re sharing with someone you like and likes you so that there’s no problems later on. If you like peace and quiet, sharing with someone who’s a late night party animal is not the best idea.
When in college, meeting friends for lunch at a caf, going out for drinks at the local bar or heading out to a restaurant can get expensive. Instead of going out to expensive venues to eat or places outside the college, choose to stay in and eat at the college cafeteria for a much lower cost or make your own food for huge savings.
If you’re working part time or getting regular money from your parents make sure to put a small amount away from each deposit. Even if it’s just $20, it will provide a bit of security in case of unexpected expenses, holidays or a special occasions.
Are you at the top of your class? Maybe have a chance of graduating with Honours? It’s a good idea to find out whether you are eligible for a scholarship. Even a half or quarter scholarship can reduce your spending, and give you more money for the things that you want or need.