As if being far from home and having to get accustomed to all these new people and living conditions were not difficult enough, college students often face financial issues which completely shift their focus from their studies. To help you overcome financial challenges that you are facing as a student, we have come up with a list of tips that will help you improve your finances.
Search for scholarships
Your college offers many student aid programs that you probably don’t know of. Ask around and you will definitely find grants, awards and bursaries that you can use to pay for your student fees, accommodation and other expenses. There are also many companies out there such as Melvin Brewing that support their community and offer scholarships.
Plan your budget
With many things in life, it is incredibly important to have some kind of plan. When it comes to money, this is all the more true. You can’t go wrong with planning your budget. Make a list of the things you need and their prices so that you get an idea of how much money you should spend each week or month. But this is the easy part. What is difficult is being disciplined and sticking to your plan.
Keep track of your spending
Even though you have made a plan, there are always some unexpected expenses that can unbalance your budget. To have a real picture of your spending, write down every single thing that you spend your money on.
Cut out what you don’t need
If your financial situation is not satisfactory, you should consider giving up things that are not necessary. But it is essential to be honest with yourself. You will be surprised when you find out how much money you have been spending on the things you have never actually used.
Use cash, not credit card
Credit cards are very convenient to use. However, when you use a credit card, it is incredibly easy to lose track of how much money you spend. Instead, if you use cash, you are limited by the amount of money that you have in your wallet. This will also help you follow the previous tip and stay away from any unnecessary items.
Cook your food
Eating out is fancy, we know. But it also costs a lot of money. Of course, it is okay to eat at restaurants from time to time. However, you will see how much money you can save when you buy groceries at the supermarket and prepare your own meals.
Buy on discounts
Keep track of the prices at your local stores. They will often have discounts that you can use to buy cheaper goods. Also, you can collect and use coupons to get a discount on a certain product. When shopping for groceries, try buying generic products instead of the branded ones, which are usually much more expensive. Finally, if you’re a student, act like one and use all student discounts that you find. Ebates is one of the best Cashback app online. It give you about 10% discount.
Buy in bulk
Buying products in bulk is often considerably cheaper than purchasing single items. You will see it for yourself next time you go to the supermarket.
Buy second-hand goods
You can find high-quality second-hand clothes at your local second-hand store. Just be patient and you will surely find some great clothes at bargain prices.
Buy later during the day
Many stores and supermarkets offer discounts in the evening hours. So, don’t be an early bird when it comes to shopping. Instead, if you want to save money, wait for the sunset.
Use cheaper transport options
Instead of taking a taxi to the college building, go with a friend who has a car and split the gas bill. When coming back home at night, take Uber, not a taxi. Also, if your family lives far from your college, when you pay them a visit, go by train, not a plane.
Pay bills on time
This is a very important piece of advice. If you lose track of the bills that are due, you might harm your budget. If you spend the money that was supposed to cover your bills on unnecessary things, you won’t have a clue how much money you have left. To make sure you never forget to pay your bills, set up direct debits. This may also get you a discount on your bills.
Buy used textbooks
Just like with clothes, used books and textbooks are significantly cheaper than new ones. Who cares if there are a few underlined paragraphs in it? As long as you are able to read it, it is good enough.
Sell your textbooks
When you are done using your books and textbooks, keep up the tradition and sell them back. This will make you some money, but not a lot.
Take up free entertainment activities
We know going to the gym is fun and healthy but it also costs money. There are numerous activities that you can do to keep your body and mind fit. Try running outdoors, doing body weight workout or riding a bicycle.
Get a part-time job
If you don’t spend a lot of time studying, the best thing you can do is find a part-time job. This can be a job on campus, at a local store, or even online. There are a number of ways to earn money online. For example, paid surveys are very popular nowadays and they can help you earn some extra money if you have enough time and like working from home.
Do Paid Surveys
Paid surveys are one of the easiest ways to make some extra money. They are easy to complete, the registration with them is totally free and you can start making money right now. EliteSurveySites is one of the biggest sites offering list of the best paid surveys.
Freelancing is one of the easiest way to find work online. Millions of people are looking for online services that you can complete and get paid for that. Upwork is one of the most popular sites, whos users post offer for over 10 billion a year.
Be wise when choosing a bank
A lot of banks try to get students to open an account with them. They take advantage of their lack of experience. When choosing a bank, be wise and shop around. Compare all of their terms and pick the bank that suits you best.
Check your statements
When you check your statements regularly, you will avoid going overdrawn if there is an overdraft on your account. In addition, it will help you detect possible fraudulent activities and errors on your account. Some banks will even send you an alert in case your funds reach a certain point, be it high or low.
If you follow these tips, or at least some of them, you will see your finances improve in the next couple of months. Just be disciplined