As for any college student the usual expenses of; school, personal life, food, entertainment, and leisure activities is enough to make you broke or for most of us, in debt. It is Thursday night and the weekend is here but your wallet is full of bank receipts and there is not any cash to been found. Your friend just told you the agenda for the night which involves; dinner, pre-game, party, and then night club. Chances are your staying in for the night unless you have a hidden supply of cash under your bed.
This type of scenario is all too common for most college students, which is why I am going to explain in detail how to save and manage your money more effectively. With becoming better educated on how to manage your money properly you will be shocked at the amount of cash you can save. The following tips will help you to save money in the following areas of your college expenses; money management, organization of money, personal life, decision making, jobs, entertainment, leisure activities, food, dating, tuition, and books.
Learning how to manage your money and having the proper knowledge on which banks to use with your money is an important part on saving your money. The following bullets will explain in detail on how to effectively manage your money: 1) Track your expenses – By tracking your expenses for 2 weeks to a month will allow you to have a better understanding where your money is going. Are red bulls at the 7-11 and a cappuccino at Starbucks 4 times a week actually needed? You will tend to realize the amount of money wasted on small items that are not necessary. Just by tracking your expenses you will begin to manage your money more effectively.
To keep better and more organized track of your money, using a notebook or quicken are great tools to being better organized. Having good records prevents you from spending what you do not have and from over drafting your account. 2) Budget your money – The best way to manage your money over a period of time is to create a budget. Take the time to sit down and look at your incomes and expenses. Examples of income are scholarships, paycheck if working, loans, money saved throughout summer and money from your family. Examples of expenses are books, food, rent, bills, tuition, and entertainment.
Create a list of your incomes and expenses, and then decide a way to budget your money from either week to week or month to month. It is important to pace yourself when putting yourself on a budget. If you spend all of your money in the beginning of the month, you will be stuck eating leftovers from the cafeteria for the last week. In addition, it is important to provide yourself with money for leisure and entertainment. You are a college student, it is refreshing to buy yourself something new or have a good time every once and a while. Putting your money on a budget will help you to manage your money very effectively.
Remember, you don’t always have to spend the amount you budget yourself. Also, planning ahead is essential when you are properly managing your money. If you know that soon you will be going on a vacation, paying your car insurance, or just an expensive weekend; placing aside $50 a week is more reasonable than coming up with $400 at once. 3) Choosing a bank – Join a credit union. Credit unions are set up as non-profit so they do not charge those high interest rates and hidden fees as, for example, a Bank of America would. Also, look into online banking, this makes for a fast easy to use way of banking. ) Credit Cards – The most helpful tip that I can give to a college student would be to stay away from credit cards. Do not fall into the traps of free giveaway sign up booths, those guys trying to sign you up are only trying to take your money. The reality is that credit card companies see college students as suckers. That is why credit companies swarm campuses and make getting a credit card so easy. These credit companies also charge a high interest rate on these cards. The average interest rate is 18%; this means you will have to pay back an additional 18% on whatever you may purchase.
The higher the interest rate, the harder it will be to pay off your bill. It is like a chain reaction that will just continue to bury you in debt. As you can only afford to pay off the minimum, the interest continues to gain as the bill continues to rise. To avoid this, it is important to avoid the temptations that come with having a credit card and to also try to make more than the minimum monthly payments. Although, having a credit card for emergency situations and to build up your credit for the future can be very beneficial. However, for college students reaching for that Visa can be a very hard habit to break.
In addition, credit companies will give you a credit line well higher than what you may need. They may set you at a $5,000 credit limit, when you may only be able to afford $1,000. Just call the credit company and tell them the price you would like your credit line set to. With having a credit card it does not mean you can buy whatever you want. It is important to be realistic and to understand what you can and cannot afford. Most expenses tend to occur in the beginning of the school year. To plan accordingly for this, saving money while working your summer job would help to cut the cost of initial expenses.
When coming back to school, books and various items for your apartment/dorm are going to be quite costly. To cut cost on buying books, it is often cheaper to buy books offline or off a friend. Buying books online can be easy and up to half the price that it would be in the bookstore. One downside to buying books online is the amount of time it can take for shipping, so be sure to place your order as early as possible. You may also have some friends who have had the same classes before you, buying a book off a friend who is not going to use it anymore can save you a good amount of money.
With having the power of the credit card, it is important to keep a focus on what is important. You want to keep your expenses to either academic or personal essentials. It might seem as if the new PS3 is just the item to place on your credit card, but I can assure you it is not. If this may seem as an essential to you then place aside money each week to save and buy that PS3 with cash. When purchasing anything remember cash is king. For most college students; the pressures of going out on the weekend, taking a girl out to dinner, having the latest technology, and still trying to save money can be quite the challenge.
Now remember, you’re in college and on your own now, you don’t have your mother yelling at you to brush your teeth before bed or to clean your room. This is an opportunity for you to begin working on your self-discipline. Having your life in order and maintaining a clear head are two things that college students tend to lose sight of. Making the right decisions when it comes to your personal health and responsibilities is an important part of self-discipline. Within this section of personal life I will relate how staying active, eating healthy, nd enjoying your social life can help you to better manage your money. Everyone is in college to better their future and to get prepared for the real-world, but just as any college student, you want to make the best out of your time here. 1)Staying focused and active – Living in dormitory or even in a house with eight roommates, you become very susceptible to catching different illnesses. By staying active and working out or excising several times throughout the week, your immune system will become stronger and fight off most illnesses.
Staying in good shape also helps with increasing self-confidence, energy throughout the day, and keeping your mind active and positively focused. In college it is easier to gain the weight than it is to lose if you fall into the outside pressures of drinking, eating fast food, and sleeping all day. With keeping the self-discipline of staying focused and active it helps to keep a clear head which in return will help you to decide what expenses are important and what is a waste of your money. 2)Healthy diet – To stay fit and keep your body in good shape, your diet is just as important as your workout.
By going to the grocery store once a week and purchasing vegetables, fruits, meats, beverages, and carbohydrates can help you to save close to an additional $50-$100 a week. Not only is cheaper to purchase food at the grocery store but it is much healthier than ordering out or eating fast food. To cut the cost on buying groceries, divide the cost by you and your roommates, buy and share the food. In addition, you will receive more for your money when you purchase weekly groceries. To get the best prices for quality products, look through the newspaper ads for each supermarket and plan out where you can save the most money.
Cut back on buying junk food, it is often expensive and is not healthy. If you do decide to eat out, college towns often have restaurants where you order and serve yourself, this cuts on the cost of leaving a tip. The only problem that some college students might have is that they do not know how to shop at the grocery store or how to cook the food. This is where it might be helpful to make a phone call home and get some instructions from your mother. For those that can cook and shop at the grocery store, this is a great way to get more for your money as well as maintain a healthy diet. )Social life – This is often times confused for the reason as to why you are in college. While it may be easy to fall into the trap of going out every weekend and living the party life it is essential to keep focus as to why you are in college. You are here to get an education and better yourself, not to blow all your money on partying and fail out. This is where the significance of self-discipline and managing your money properly should take first priority. Everyone likes to have a good time and enjoy themselves, it is important to keep things in moderation.
Learn to limit your vices or “stress-relievers” (as some college students say) such as, beer, cigarettes, and etc… These vices can be expensive and costly to your health as well. By keeping to your budget and using the allotted amount you give yourself a weekend you can enjoy yourself and still save money. Here are a couple tips on how to keep the expenses of your weekend nights to a minimum; •Have a meal before you leave to go out. Leaving the house/dorm hungry can cost you a lot of money that you may not have. •Leave your debit card and wallet home. Only bring the money you can afford for the night and your id.
This will help to fight the temptations of buying unnecessary items, especially if you are under the influence. •If you have friends that have an unlimited bank account and spend lots of cash, try to avoid them and hang with friends that relate to your financial status. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy yourself in college. The following is a list of inexpensive activities and entertainment for any guy or girl student who is looking to save money and enjoy their social life as well; •Newspapers offer listings of inexpensive or free events that are going to take place in your city/town •
Going to matinee movies School events, such as sporting events or clubs •Spend a day at the local park, go for a walk or fly a kite •Bicycle rides with a friend •Spending the afternoon baking and relaxing •Grab a couple friends and play sports at the school gym •Coffee shops often have free local bands play at night •Afternoon flea market •Depending on the season, apple or pumpkin picking for Halloween, Christmas shopping, Easter decorating or designing eggs, etc… •Art gallery Student newspapers often give listings of free events or activities that are taking place around campus •Play video games with friends, create tournaments and play for bragging rights •Get involved in intramural sports •Ladies usually get into clubs for free and get drink specials •Go to bars with no cover charge and that have drink specials Throughout college you are going to meet a number of different people, some you will like more than others, and for those you do, you may find yourself taking him or her out on a date. Now for most people, saving money and dating are two notions that don’t connect.
For most, on a first date you try to impress and give off the perception that you are not broke or even worse, cheap. To the disbelief of many, dating does not have to be expensive to be impressive, entertaining and unforgettable. Remember, you are trying to stick to a budget and with all other expenses it is challenging enough. The following bullets will explain how to have fun on a date without spending all your cash. •Mother Nature – It is all around us everywhere we go, natural scenery is different at every campus and usually the beauty goes unnoticed.
A great idea for when the weather is nice is to take him or her down to Narrangansset or Newport and go for a walk on the beach. Take a walk around city blocks and stop somewhere there is nice view overlooking the city. Take time to find these spots at which ever campus you are, this can be extremely cheap and give quality time to build a better relationship. •Picnic – A picnic in the local park is always a great idea. Bring sandwiches and beverages, it shows that you took the time to actually prepare something. This costs minimal as to what you spend at a restaurant and can be taken almost anywhere.
Depending on the mood you are trying to create, you can make a picnic either casual or romantic by adding a few extra accessories. •Sporting events – If you get so lucky to find a woman who is interested in sports, this is a great opportunity to either play a sport together or to watch a sporting event at your school. This also allows you to spend quality time with one another as well as have a good time while saving your money. •Experience culture and history – In this city there a number of historical buildings, museums, art galleries, cultural centers and landmarks that are either very cheap or free.
Often times, there are exhibits that are off campus that have reduced or free admission for college students. This is good for a date on a more intellectual level and gives time to get to know each other as well as the area you are in. •Dinner at home – For those of you who are culinary skilled, this is a great opportunity to impress your date and to save the cost of going out to eat. To make the date more interesting, cook the meal together and combine ideas. After the meal, this is a chance to hang out and watch a movie or play a game. This is a great date idea to impress and really have a good time. Miniature golf/go karts – This makes for a great afternoon date and adds a little excitement. Racing each other and fooling around on the race track provides a fun time for one another. In miniature golf, a friendly competition allows to make things more exciting and to fool around. •University events – In the school paper, there are listings of events that are taking place for the following week. Usually events are free or reduced admission, which includes concerts, art exhibits, guest speakers, and plays. This can make for a quality date as well as save you money. •Coffee houses – Stop at a local coffee shop to relax and have conversation.
Coffee is much cheaper than a meal at a restaurant and provides the relaxed atmosphere to get to know each other better. Also, order a dessert and splitting it provides for a romantic experience. Making Money I’ve saved the best for last. If you can master even one of these, you’ll have a head-start on your friends. Master all four, and you’ll be on the road to wealth. No kidding. •Spend less than you earn. Don’t earn much? Then don’t spend much. If your spending and income are roughly even, you have two choices: earn more or spend less. When I was in college, I worked as many as four jobs at once.
This gave me a lot of spending cash. (Unfortunately, I didn’t do a good job with the spend less part of the equation. ) •Be an outstanding employee. Good work habits can pay enormous dividends, leading to recommendations and contacts that you can use after you’re out of school. Several of my classmates turned work-study jobs into launching pads for future careers. •Start your own business. Can you install a hard drive? Can you strip a computer of spyware? Can you perform minor car repairs? Do you have a pickup truck you could use to haul furniture? Are you a passable guitar player?
Charge cheap rates and exceed expectations. Word will spread. When you’ve built up a customer base, you can raise your rates a little. This is an awesome way to make money. Learn to invest. Find a discount broker and begin making regular investments. Sharebuilder is a great choice for college students. It costs only $4 to make a scheduled stock purchase, and you can invest any amount of money, even $20. Don’t obsess over the details yet. You can worry about high returns and low fees later. Right now the most important thing is to develop the investment habit. (Ad: Buy Stocks for $4 at ShareBuilder. Ten years from now, you’ll thank yourself. If you can find a way to invest $1000 a year for the next ten years, you can set yourself up for life. Organization and Planning Save your receipts. Put them in a shoebox under your bed if you must, but hold onto them. You’ll need to be able to compare them with statements at the end of the month. And some you’ll need to keep for several years. Guard your vital stats. Don’t give out your social security number or your credit card info except to known and trusted sources. Pay your bills on time. Basic advice, but it’s surprising how many people lose track of things.
If you pay your bills as they arrive, you won’t have to worry about forgetting them. Tuition Expenses •Try looking for scholarships. You may think that you’re no longer eligible for scholarships since you’re a college student, but this isn’t true. Your school or other foundations may offer scholarship programs that can save you loads of money on college tuition. For further information you may want to try www. findaid. org or www. college-scholarships. com. •Shop around for student loans. Just like choosing a credit card company, you should try going to different banks to see what types of interest rates are available.
You may want to choose the type of loan that begins charging you interest after you’re finished with college–not the type of loan that charges you interest while you’re in school. Other Expenses •Shop around for a reasonable cell phone plan. Try to find a plan that works best for the type of calls you make the most. Do you call your family or friends most often? Do you need a long distance plan? Do you text message often? •Try filling your prescriptions at your school’s health center. Sometimes campus health centers will fill your prescriptions for a fraction of the cost of a regular pharmacy. See a doctor on campus. If you feel sick, you may want to consider seeing a doctor or a nurse practitioner on campus. These services are often free. •Bike, walk or take the bus to school. These alternatives may help you save money on gas and alleviate some of the stress you may experience trying to park on campus. •Go to the on-campus gym. Access to this gym equipment is usually free. If you want to take group classes, however, be prepared to pay a fee. http://www. getrichslowly. org/blog/2006/08/30/27-money-tips-for-college-students/