College can be a wonderful adventure and life journey for our children. But when it comes to budgeting, it can be a huge learning experience in how quickly their money can disappear.
There is plenty of scholarships and grant money available. Take the time to research to see how you can get a piece of the pie.
Many colleges offer lots of free, cheap, or reduced activities on campus which will provide you the opportunity to socialize without a lot of expense. It’s alright to be a cheapskate!
Milk your student status as long as possible. Many places will give you a discount simply for being a student and showing your student I.D.
Where is your money going? It is critical to know where you spend your money. This allows you to improve your spending habits.
Definitely make a budget and stick to it. Estimate how much money you have coming in (income) and what you are spending (expenses).
Live like a college student! Don’t spend money you don’t even have yet. Though it may feel difficult to do now, living like a student will place you in a much better long-term financial situation after you graduate.
Don’t abuse any credit. Be very responsible with your credit cards. If you can’t, don’t have them. If you do have credit cards, only charge what you are sure you can afford to truly pay off each month and make sure it can fit into your budget. If you are tempted too easily with credit cards and tend to overuse, leave them at home and use only the cash you can afford to spend.
Used books and school accessories save a ton of money. Look online or check with your college bookstore for used textbooks for your classes. Sell back your used books at the end of the semester to earn some extra cash. Check online or with your campus bookstore for buy-back details. Share with or borrow from a friend or even rent books.
One of the most important money saving tips, and easiest, is to not buy on impulse. Wait a day or two and then see if you still need the item.
While it may seem impossible to save, give it a try anyway, even if it’s only $10 a week. Deposit the money in a savings account that’s not attached to any ATM card so it is hard to access.
Be sure to keep all receipts, bank statements, credit and loan statements, student loan documents and other financial statements in safe location. You never know when you will need to refer to, or need access to these documents.
Make sure you always pay your bills on time, every time. While obvious, paying on time is a big factor in having a good credit score. See our “Credit Score” greenienote!
Extra cash. As long as you are able to manage your studies, having a part-time job is a great way to earn a extra spending or savings money.