College is an exciting time for every student but it is also very expensive. As student debt rises and the cost of living increases, every freshman needs a crash course in College Finances 101. Here are essential tips on how to handle personal finance every student should know.
Learn about your financial aid options
Most students who plan to go to university have to borrow money to pay for their education and living costs. Research your financial aid options: state tuition assistance programs, federal loans, private loans and find out what is best for you. You should have a clear understanding of the terms of payment and only borrow the amount of money that can cover your tuition and books.
You should also research options for scholarships and grants available to you. You can apply for university-specific scholarships. Besides, you can find out whether you qualify for other funding options thanks to the major you’re going into or hobbies you pursue. Scholarships can be a great start and help you avoid borrowing too much to fund your education.
Learn to manage your finances. You should have at least a basic idea of how much money you get and how much money you spend every month. At first, it may seem very difficult to adjust what you spend, taking into account how much money you receive. But if you plan your finances on a regular basis, you will get into a habit. You will see where your money goes and learn to understand that you spend more than you have.
You can try an “envelope system” to stay within your budget. With this method, you can set your budget for a month or for a week. For example, you may decide to spend $250 for groceries this month so you should put that money into an envelope and pay for groceries out of than envelope. When you are out of money, that means you have no groceries. You should learn to live within your means.
Find a good part-time job
Your first job will help you pay your bills. It’s important to work and get paid even if you have to study full-time. It will teach you financial responsibility. You will learn to interact with professionals and get an invaluable experience that will help you lower your financial concern.
Invest your money in skills
You are investing a lot of money into your education, but there are skills you can’t learn at university. If you invest money in them, you can benefit from them in the long run. For example, you can spend money on taking a crash course in financial management or another course you need for your career or learning a new language with a tutor at Preply. These skills may lead you to greater success in life. They can help you get a great job and increase your chances for promotion. You will enhance your knowledge and abilities.
When planning your budget, you should set a certain amount of money aside every month or every week, even if it’s just $30. You may need some emergency cash or you may want to reward yourself for a fantastic achievement. Then you can use your savings. Besides, you may start saving for your retirement if you get a job. The earlier you start saving, the better even if you can’t contribute a lot.
Take advantage of student discounts
Being a student, you can get lots of benefits with your campus ID. For example, you can get a discount at a local restaurant or pay less for your new laptop. When making major purchases, you should always ask the retailer about student discounts.
College is expensive, but if you plan your personal finances, you will be able to keep your expenses at a reasonable level. Managing personal finances can be scary at first especially if have no idea how to do it right because no one has ever taught you do it. You should educate yourself, for example, follow some personal finance blogs to gain the basic knowledge. With a little effort, you can become an expert at managing your finances and lower your stress.