As a student, the amount of money that you invest in your education is well worth it; however, it can be very expensive. The reality is that the price of a good education will slowly increase in the upcoming years. As a result, you will be faced with a choice to take on further debt to finance your studies or become a better money manager for school.
Here are 7 practical tips that you can use to manage your finances while in school.
1. Know Your Costs
In order for you to become a better manager of money, you have to know your costs. Similar to an owner of a store, being aware of where your money is going is essential. Besides tuition and other fees, it is a good idea to identify the costs which comes along with attending school. These include books and other learning materials, club memberships, etc. The key advantage of knowing these related school costs is that you can find cheaper alternatives or be able to share the expenses with friends. For example, you can purchase used textbooks, share the costs of copying notes, etc.
2. Prepare Your Budget
With the knowledge that you have regarding your costs, you have to prepare your budget. Not only will your budget consider tuition, books and other fees you have to account for food, rent and personal items (assuming that you are not still at home).
3. Earn More Money
At the end of your budgeting task, you will see how much money that you have to either save for the future or use for pocket. If you do have money, consider yourself fortunate. If you have a deficit, (when your income cannot cover your costs), then you might have to earn money. This might entail searching a job (if you do not have one yet), getting a second job, or working more hours. Remember, the goal at this point is not to become rich but to cover additional costs going forward in your academic career.
4. Find Savings
Managing money, whether you are first year student or a graduate, should lead you to sitting down and trying to find ways to save money for the short and long term. One thing that you can look at to save money is what you purchase in terms of food and beverages. For instance, instead of buying a lunch at the cafeteria or coffee at the nearby coffee shop, bring your food and drink from home. Buying food products in bulk and preparing them at home will assist in keeping more money in your pocket on a weekly and monthly basis.
5. Make Sacrifices
With a limited amount of money as a student, you will have to make some sacrifices especially when it comes to your social life. Instead of going out with your friends on a regular basis, you may want to restrain yourself given your budget and find other options to be with friends and entertained. Sacrifices will have be made in terms of new clothing despite of hot new fashion trends that other students are wearing.
6. Know How To Use Credit
If you have a credit card, know how to use it wisely as a student. Credit cards are forms of instant loans that will be have to be paid back quickly to avoid interest charges. One golden rule is that you should not use your credit card unless there is or will be enough funds in your bank account when payment is due. In addition, avoid using credit to pay for everyday items as it will become a habit that you may not be able to control.
7. Know Your Student Loan Conditions
Not only does a student loan bring funding for your education but it brings the responsibility of knowing the conditions of the loan agreement. Being aware of the terms and conditions may afford you to pay off the loan at a lower interest or obtain additional funding in the future.
Financing your studies is similar to running a business. Sound management of money is needed to meet goals and avoid difficulties that may arise in the future.