Going off to college usually means leaving the nest for the first time. You’ll be living away from the safety net of your parents (and their bank accounts) and trying to make it on your own.
Whether you’re getting an allowance from your folks or working a part-time job in between classes to help make ends meet, you’ll be in charge of seriously managing your own money for probably the first time in your life.
If you don’t want to make a mess of things, there are a few ways you can get on top of it:
Choose the Right Bank Account
Walking around with wads of cash in your pocket, or keeping your savings under your mattress is not advisable in 2021.
However, signing up for the first bank account you see isn’t necessarily a good idea either. Shop around for something that will really suit you and your financial needs.
Bank charges can be expensive, and often have loads of benefits that you might not even need. Take a look at different options for debit cards, savings accounts, or whatever other types of accounts might suit you best.
Start Budgeting Properly
Unfortunately, budgeting doesn’t mean simply allotting a certain amount of funds to each of your expenses and then completely ignoring those limitations once you’ve been paid.
Serious budgeting is a continuous process and an important one at that.
To budget efficiently and really take charge of your money, you’ll need to do daily or weekly check-ins on your expenses.
You could write these down in a notebook, or find a budgeting app in which to track everything you spend. This will give you an idea of where you might need to cut back.
Learn to Prioritise
College is a time of your life where you can really discover who you are, who your people are, and what you love and want out of life.
This sudden sense of freedom may lead you to make some not-so-smart decisions about how you’re spending your money.
New clothes, going out with friends, takeout and all the rest of these kinds of expenses are exactly that – expensive.
While it is important to enjoy these luxuries and make the most of your college years, this is also an important time to teach yourself balance and responsibility.
Use your budget to allocate your priority money first: savings goals, tuition, food, bills, and any other important expenses. The rest of what is left over is what you should be spending on fun.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Becoming a bargain hunter early on in your financial journey will actually teach you some valuable skills.
Keep in mind that getting something on sale isn’t truly a ‘bargain’ unless you really needed that item and were planning on buying it full-price anyway.
That being said, taking advantage of sales, student discounts, coupons and other types of savers will definitely benefit you in the long run if you use them wisely.