College is a wonderful whirlwind of study, friends, activities, fun and independence. At the core of it all is finance. Balancing all these elements to have the most enjoyable experience requires a careful harmonization of time, energy and funds. This article will outline some key budgeting classics so that you can focus on working (and playing) hard.
Apply for Financial Aid
When studying for a degree it’s not just the cost of the course that you need to take into consideration; there are also the living expenses. Unless you’re fortunate enough to come from a wealthy background, coming up with the necessary funds is a daunting and seemingly impossible prospect. Therefore, you must look to taking out private student loans to supplement your federal ones. Additionally, if you go on to study master’s, a graduate private student loan is a very wise idea. There will be the opportunity to refinance or consolidate these loans which will help you to manage them more effectively. You deserve to have your education paid for so that you can have a less stressful experience. Then, when you’re reaping in the benefits of your degree in a high-paying career, you’ll be able to manage the repayments.
Work for an Extra Financial Boost
Typical college student job haunts include shops, cafés or bars. The latter can provide very lucrative tips, and all offer buzzy, cool environments where you can interact with other people. However, there are many more options for extra income out there from freelance and odd jobs to helping with research projects or even paid work experience. You can make work fit into your study schedule and even find things that are either relevant to your course or that are related to your other interests and hobbies.
Work out Your Priorities
At the top of the list are your basic necessities, accommodation, food, course materials and laundry. Beyond that, it’s up to you to order what you value the most. Budgeting is an absolute must for any student, as if you don’t keep an eye on your finances it can be very easy to plummet into debt. If you struggle with organizing your money, why not buy a monthly calendar or some kind of chart, notebook, post-its etc. to help you sort through everything. You could even color code to help you compartmentalize your expenditures. Once you’ve compensated for necessities, go to the next tier. For example, social expenses which would include money spent with friends on lunches, parties, shopping trips at the mall, days out and so on. Then, you’d continue like this, setting an appropriate amount for each section. If one month you topple over in one area, say you have a big birthday bash, another area will have to soak up the losses. Whatever system you devise, it’s your decision to decide what’s important.
Save As You Go
Saving during college can almost seem like mission impossible. However, it could be as simple as putting aside bits of loose change. It could be as easy as date night in the dorms, or instant coffee and shop-bought cake afternoons. Of course, you must still enjoy yourself and let loose. Nevertheless, you can still have a blast cutting back and the money you save here and there could go towards that first car or property deposit.