College days are the most exciting times in a student’s life. It is during this time that students learn new subjects and explore the career options available to them, in a safe, knowledge-based environment. However, at the same time, it is also important that college students also begin to form healthy financial habits in college. Too often, students that start off on the wrong foot make poor decisions later on, especially when it comes to their finances. College can be an expensive endeavour, even with scholarships and other kinds of financial aid. Everything from textbooks to food in Achija or Dosa Plaza to transportation and entertainment costs something. There’s no way around it, except following the old adage ‘Spend some & save some’. But, saving money while in college may be a difficult thing to do!!
- Buy used textbooks :
You’re just going to sell them back at the end of the term. (Or end up wishing you had done so, five years from now.) You don’t need new textbooks.
- Get Organized :
It might seem like a hassle, but saving receipts of everything you purchase — from small items such as a Dairy Milk or a CD, to big-ticket items like a new computer — is a great way to monitor your spending habits. Try it out for a month. When your thirty days are up, add up all of your expenses and see where your money went. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to cut back on unnecessary spending.
- Be Creative With Your Leisure Time :
Everyone needs to unwind after studies, and the avenues are galore — movie theatres, cafes, shopping centres, etc. Enquire if any of these places offer student discounts. You can also think of alternative ways to have a good time. If you make the right choices and use a bit of creativity, you can have fun and save money at the same time. Plan a picnic in the park; make dinner for a date instead of going to a fancy restaurant; go for a bike ride around town; play Cricket or Football in Campus. All of these activities cost a fraction of the typical college experience and can be more fun.
It’s easy to think that too many things are necessities. Prioritize your “necessities” and cut out costs that turn out to be “wants” rather than “needs.”
Set a limit for everything you spend money on, from food to utilities to clothing to rent to transportation to entertainment. The natural inclination to stick to the budget, which will develop gradually, will go a long way in cutting down ‘unnecessary’ expenses.
You aren’t living on the same budget as all of your friends, so you don’t have to feel pressured to keep up with their lifestyle. It’s okay to turn down trips to Vegas or even an extra happy hour that week if you’ve reached your limit.
- Avoid Credit Card Debt :
This isn’t so much about how to save money, but rather how not to spend money. If you are not responsible with money and aren’t in a position to pay off your monthly bill in full each month, then a credit card is not for you. Stick to cash until you adjust to your new budget. If you already have a credit card, remember that it is not free money. You need to pay that money to the credit card companies and they will charge you interest for each month you don’t. You don’t want to find yourself at 23, swimming in debt.
Choose who you hang out with:
- Don’t hang out with big spenders. Some kids have parents with deep pockets. Other kids are well down the road to financial trouble. Hanging out with them can lead you through the same path to doom.
- Take advantage of College Facilities. There’s always something to do. If nothing, sit in the Library!! Get the most from your student ID!
College is the time for students to show that they can function as responsible adults in society, and while many adults suffer from poor money management skills themselves, there is ample opportunity to set the bar higher. If nothing else, simply paying attention and understanding expenses will put a student ahead of the others in life. Following these tips will ensure that you not only have the best times of your life in college, but also that you leave college without the thousands of Rupees of debt, that you would possibly have earned otherwise!!
So…Save & Be Wise!!