How To Live Well On A College Budget?
College phase is a peculiar one in most of our lives. You are officially an adult but may not always possess necessary life skills and mental strength to live completely on your own. One of the most common skills that a student lack is that of budgeting. That is the reason, perhaps, why as per the Institute of College Access & Success, on an average a student graduates from university with a student loan debt of $28,000. But no need to feel helpless, there are quite simple and reliable ways in which one can manage her budget of graduate school, in spite of the fact that higher studies are getting expensive day by day.
1. Make a wise decision while choosing:
If you haven’t already decided which school or university you plan to continue your higher studies, then this is the best time you include the tuition fees and living expenditures of different schools into consideration. This factoring in of the probable expenses in your decision would help you immensely in the long run.
2. Search before choosing a room and go for a roommate:
Mostly it is found that the room rent is a significant portion of a student budget. So don’t decide the place that is going to be your home for the next few years, in a hurry. It is often recommended to go for a roommate as then you can afford a bigger apartment and generally, larger sized apartments are cheaper compared to smaller ones. However, always remember to choose a roommate with care. Hence always be careful while choosing your student accomodation.
3. Find out the right Meal Plan and eat out less:
After rent, it is your food expenditure that is going to hurt if you don’t plan well. Take your time to decide which meal plan suits you the best both in terms of food habits and budget. But don’t cut down on your nutrition or survive completely on junk foods as that can have larger ramifications in the future. The best way to strike a balance between both is by cooking your own food as much as possible.
4. Judiciously purchase books and Computers:
You should try to use the library as far as possible. For must buy books try to predominantly go for second hand ones. In most cases, the laptop you need may not be a high end one, rather choose a sturdy but reasonable one to fit your scheme of things. You can save up to $500 very easily andf also keep away from low grades.
5. Go for used furniture and even clothes:
Often used furniture are really handy and economical option to choose. Even you can go for used clothes if bought from a reliable outlet.
6. Try to avail student discounts:
You might get surprised to realize where all on you can avail student discounts. Always remember there is no harm in asking and always carry your university student ID cards to prove that you are a student, where ever applicable.
7. Know your cash flow:
As a student ideally you should plan your budget over a semester instead of a month. At the beginning of semester make a tally of your bank a/c. Most likely there would be a lumpy amount in your a/c owing to savings or refunds from financial aids. Don’t get complacent by the amount and plan to manage it in a manner so that the amount mostly remains even after the end of the semester.
8. Track your expenditure:
Regularly take bank as well as debit or credit card statements to realize how you are spending your budget. If you can identify the lumpy expenditures, then you can plan accordingly to cut those down.
9. Decide between needs and wants:
This is one of most difficult things to decide. However, you should always prioritize your needs over wants and cut down on the latter as far as possible.
10. Use the resources on campus:
One of the best ways to reduce your expenditure is by spending more time on campus. It helps in many ways. You can use campus resources like wifi, laboratory, library for your study and also subsidized canteen to get healthy food and drinks.
11. Be aware of Peer Pressure:
There is no harm in making friends, however, to maintain friendship it is not required to say yes to everything. You can always take a call while it comes to attending parties, going out for a night club or movies. Be bold enough to say no.
12. Make a list:
Before going to market make a purchase list. Stick to the list as much as possible. It will help you to not to spend on impulse buying. While creating the list also make sure that you avoid things which are not real need. You can create a rotation for things which you want. In each month you can spend a certain portion of budget for things that you want, rather than need.
The most important thing you should remember is that you need to keep control on your impulses as often we buy stuff that we really need. If you could keep a check on that then you can very well manage your finances and even make some small savings as well. Always stay focused and don’t forget that this is just your student phase. There would definitely be a time when you can afford some luxuries, but for this for the time being you have to manage without many of these.
Bella contributes to open-source projects and has worked on many Linux and ERP based installations in the past. She is also a private tutor in Information Technology at Expert Assignment Help and loves working with students to help them out with IT assignments . She takes a keep interest on issues on Student welfafare and well being
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