When you’re in college, you have so many opportunities to go and have fun, explore the world, and open your mind. However, most of these things come with a price tag.
As a college student, money will be tight for quite some time. Even if you have a job, college is expensive, and unless you received a full scholarship to the school of your choosing, be prepared for hefty bills and not a lot of disposable income.
If you’re smart about your money, though, you can save a little bit, pay your bills, and still enjoy your time. Follow our six money tips for college students to help keep you on track.
Watch What Loans You Get
Before you take out a loan, even a student loan, see if you can afford not to use it. Loans of any kind end up being quite expensive once you factor in the interest rate with how long the term is. Pay attention to the different loans available.
The most tempting loans are the small, personal loans (Credit Ninja would be an example). These are excellent for emergencies and when you’re strapped for cash. However, use them with caution as the interest rates are high.
Follow a Budget
Although budgeting isn’t the most entertaining thing you can do in college, it is something that will keep you on top of your finances. If you want to have money to go out with friends next weekend, your budget will help you. Don’t want to be in debt for decades after school? Following your budget is a way to prevent that from happening.
Have a Goal
Goals are an excellent motivator at any age. Financial goals help keep you focused and prevent you from overspending.
Add a goal or two into your budget. Make them specific and realistic so that you won’t lose focus or feel defeated. It could be as simple as putting $10 into a savings account each week or putting a percentage of your tips towards a loan.
Look at a Part-Time Job
Although going to school is your full-time job, many students will get a part-time job on top of it. Because of how expensive college is, going to school without a steady income coming in seems next to impossible for some students.
Look to see what part-time jobs will work with your schedule. Serving and bartending jobs tend to be the popular choice.
Spend Less and Make More
Although this one is obvious, it’s still worth mentioning – spend less and make more. If you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, it’s only a matter of time before you run out of money. Your budget will help you track your spending so that you’re always making more money than what you’re spending.
Use (but Don’t Abuse) Credit Cards
When you enter college, it’s time to build up your credit score. If you want to get a house or a new vehicle at some point, you’ll need credit to get the loan. Using credits cards is how you’ll do that.
Be careful not to abuse your credit card. It’s easy to forget that the piece of plastic you swipe all the time doesn’t necessarily mean you have the money in your account.
Use the above tips to help you stay on top of your finances while in college. Come out of school happy with your diploma, rather than worried about your finances.