College is an interesting time in life. Apart from assignments and work, some students have very little other commitments. It’s a time for young people to “find themselves”, explore hobbies and make personal and professional connections. Something many students will agree with however, is the financial struggle of student life. Student board, bills, food, and social activities all add up, and working while studying often only earns you just enough to cover these expenses. Here are some secrets to surviving college on a budget.
Create a Budget
The first step in living and surviving on a budget is to create one that actually works. A budget is often thought of as restricting, but when done properly, a budget can be very freeing. It’s a way for you to have complete control over your money and avoid unexpected financial surprises.
To create a workable budget, you first must know exactly how much money is coming in, and how much is going out. For the first few weeks of your budgeting, it’s important to track your spending. Not only does this help you understand your finances, but you can find areas where you can make savings and cut costs.
From there, you can work out what the essentials of your life cost, such as food, board and phone bills, and how much cash you have left over. With your left-over cash, it’s important that a good portion of it goes into savings. Savings not only help you afford bigger purchases later in life, but they can also help cover unexpected costs when they inevitably pop up.
Take advantage of deals
Taking advantage of special deals and discounts has the ability to save you hundreds of dollars. In particular, many places such as cinemas, fast food restaurants, and recreational activity centers have student discounts. By simply showing your student I.D to places, you can save anywhere from 10% to 20%.
Many places have discounts and coupon codes which you might not even know about. Checking out sites like Extras can keep you up to date on a range of coupons and discounts where you can pick up some sneaky savings.
Be smart with loans
As a student, you probably don’t consider taking out a loan as an option. Most of the time, this is the case and it’s wise to avoid getting yourself into unnecessary debt, however, sometimes it’s required. Maybe the rent for your accommodation is due, or you need urgent repairs done on your car so you can keep your job. Rather than risk losing your student accommodation, or missing your next shift, you can consider taking out a small loan to get you through the situation. Sites like CashnGo make it easy and quick to get small loans. So when the rent is due and your bank account is looking empty, remember you can use a loan.
It’s also important to remember, however, that these loans must be paid back rather quickly to avoid large fees, so it’s best not to make this a habit.
Get Extra Cash
Of course, one of the best ways to survive college on a budget is to increase your income. In today’s internet-connected world, making some extra cash has never been easier. A popular way of doing this is through what is called the Sharing Economy. Made famous by the likes of Airbnb, this is where people lend out their unused assets for cash.
While a college student probably won’t be renting out their dorm on Airbnb, they can rent out things like fashion. For example, The Volte is a marketplace for designer fashion, where people can lend out their items to those looking for a special outfit. It’s a perfect side hustle for a student on a budget.
Live within your means
In addition to making extra income, living within your means and budget is undoubtedly important. With college being a prime time for parties, socializing and other activities, it can become quite costly. While socializing is important, it’s crucial that you budget for such events and find other ways to unwind on a Friday night.
Cutting back on parties and the associated costs and finding passions or new activities that are budget friendly will save you more than you might think.
For more tips on all things college, check out the other blogs on College Basics!