Starting college and being in college is amazing and wonderful, but it comes with a couple of challenges, actually with tons of challenges. One of the biggest challenges that college students face is problems with the money.
Most students live on a tight budget, but one of the main problems that occur is that most of the students do not have much or any experience with budgeting and handling money on their own. You have most likely been living till now with your parents, and they have done all the budgeting for you. When you start college, this is no longer the case, but you have probably not learned how to take care of your budget when living completely on your own as a college student.
In this article, we will help you with all of your money budgeting problems.
Most of us never learn how to be financial adults and how to manage our money. One of the most important things that we need to change in order to have good budget habits is to change our mindset.
Money are just pieces of paper that have no real value, and, therefore, we unconsciously see them as invaluable and end up spending a lot of them. If you learn this as a student, you’ll have a lot brighter future with managing money and budgeting.
So what exactly is student budgeting and how do you define your budget?
The basic budget is actually tracking your income, your spending and seeing if everything is balanced. If you spend less than your income, then you are good. It’s simple as that.
The difficult part is sticking to your budget. This is basically because we have mostly learned how to spend, and spending can be like a habit or even an addiction and, therefore, many people can’t stick to their budget and end up spending more than they can afford.
One awesome tip that you can use not to overspend over your budget is to write one sticker note with the following message “ I only invest in what I need” and put it on your computer or mirror, so it will be in front of you at least once in the day, and you will read this message to self. After a while, this should get in your head, and your bad spending habits will disappear, because you will have better mind control to spend money on the things that you actually need.
Next, make your budget detailed, so with time you will see what are you spending on the most, and you can even adjust it and make your spending habits even better. You don’t need to use any fancy apps for this, but just a google spreadsheet that is easy to use or one app that I have found useful is a free Windows app spending tracker. Having a budget can improve your savings a lot and save you from the trouble of spending money on things that you actually do not need.
Still budgeting can be difficult, but have integrity and stick to your decisions, don’t spend more if your friends are spending more, don’t fall for every cool ad and product that you see but you actually do not need.
As easy as it sounds, this is not easy to manage at the start, especially if you have had no experience and have been a financial child. It’s time to change and just by using a couple of these tricks you will see a lot of improvement. : )
There are two basic concepts that you need to know, needs and wants.
See what is a need and what is a want. Here is an example. You are starting college and you need a laptop, so you start searching, and you fall in love with the brand new $5000 cool awesome laptop. Now, this laptop is not a need, it’s a want, you can probably get by with a $500 laptop or even cheaper depending on what you need it for and you will save a lot of money because surely you won’t need the most expensive laptop for your college tasks.
Try to get mostly things that are needs, and try to avoid wants as much as possible. It is almost not possible to just spend money on needs, because then we would feel like robots, only buying things that we need, but it’s best to lower our spending money on wants to the minimum.
Start putting the most important things in your budget first.
Check how much money you are going to need for rent, course materials, transport, food, entertainment, internet, insurance, study expenses and add them in your budget.
Also for the most of the things that you spend money on, try finding hacks for them. For example you don’t always need to buy the materials and books new, you can always get them old for a loooot cheaper. Get the best transport deals and find the markets that have the best value for money on the foods that you eat. There are many more hacks for these things, and you can research them and save tons of money this way. We might also do an article dedicated to this. 🙂
Pro Tip: Start using one of the tools above and try getting used to them first. In no time, they will become habits and rituals, and you will be saving a lot of money.