College is expensive all by itself and when you add the cost of actually living to it, you may feel like there is no way you can afford to pay for it all. Well, fortunately for you, if you play your (credit?) cards right, there are a lot of things that you can do to help get you through this very expensive and stressful time in your life.
One of the things that you can save the most money on a regular basis on is food. Whatever you do, one of the main rules is to not go shopping while you are hungry, because you will buy a lot more food than what you really need.
Make a list of the things that you absolutely cannot live without every month and how much they cost so you know exactly how much money you have to spend on necessities. This will include housing, utilities, food, and transportation at the bare minimum. Be reasonable, however, when calculating these. Try to cut down on the fast and junk food that you eat on a daily basis and try to be cheap. Ramen noodles may be cheap, but they are also bad for you. Take this into account, as well.
With this list you maximize your college budget and are able to purchase the items you want the most. Seeing the items you want to work toward can provide strong motivation for you to earn the money necessary to buy them. Knowing what it is that you want the most and what will make you happiest is a key component for a developing college student budget that allows you to get the items you want while not overextending yourself.
Your utilities can be reduced a great deal by using less of your air conditioner and heating during the summer and winter. Keep the lights and other appliances that you are not using off and when you have to wash clothes, try to wash an entire load instead of half of one. Running half a load of clothes uses the same amount of electricity as a full load.
Another place you can save money has to do with avoiding fees and interest charges when you bank and use your credit cards. If you like using your debit card instead of cash all the time, be very careful not to let yourself become overdrawn at the bank due to the fact that most debit cards will continue to work even if you go over what you actually have, just like credit cards do. You will be subject to overdraft fees, so keep a close eye on how much money you have in your checking account.
If you follow a simple student budget, you will have more money available to afford the activities that make college an experience you’ll always remember. What’s more, you will avoid college debt which means a brighter and richer future for you, your family, and your friends. That is how you will reach your financial goals and enjoy the things in life that make you really like doing.