As a student, there seems to be an expectation that life should be worry-free and that money can be spent with no regard or planning for tomorrow. Mistakenly millions of students have carried this mentality. However, they were sobered soon after graduating when they found themselves surrounded by debt.
A key element of the adult world is financial stability. Using some simple money management tips students can learn to stay financially fit. Learning to manage money while in college enables students to confidently enter the mean, cold world.
1. Stay organized. Use a calendar to keep track of due dates. This helps ensure that payments are made on time. Stay informed on any available scholarships to keep track of their application deadlines. As scholarships are funds that do not have to be paid back, they can become a vital aspect of funding a college education. Organization encourages positive money management.
2. Establish an emergency fund for yourself. Emergencies and college life are synonymous. An emergency can have a devastating crippling financial effect. Having an emergency fund provides a safety net. Set aside 15-20% of all money into this fund. You will be happy that you did.
3. Invest your savings. As a student, there is less financial pressure than that of an adult with a family to support. Therefore, you have more of an advantage now and freedom to take risks with your money. This encourages hands-on learning on matters regarding various investment options. Make your money work for you. Researching investment institutions helps to get the most out of your money. Speak with financially stable friends, consult professors, use the internet for research and when possible take risks and experiment. What you learn will be vital in the future.
4. Share instead of buying whenever you can. Do not rush to buy books or equipment unless it is mandated that each student have their own. Try sharing such resources with your classmates. The more you share, the more you save. Establish a “common resource club” where everyone makes different items available so everyone can benefit from their use.
5. Take a part-time job. Wherever and whenever possible try to self-finance your college expenses. Actively look for employment around you; however, performing freelance work over the internet is also a great option. It is important that you do not place all the financial burden on your parents shoulders, even if they can afford it. It is an amazing feeling to be financially independent.
6. Stay away from credit cards. If you want plastic money, use a debit card. Nonetheless, use it with as much caution as you would a credit card. One of the major causes for financial distress after graduation is the careless and irresponsible use of student credit cards. Be careful here, you are playing with fire.
7. Stay away from frivolities. Yes, yes – student life is supposed to be a fun-filled life where frivolous expenses play a very important role. However, if you apply the ‘get value for your money’ concept to such expenses you will see how misplaced such concepts are. Spend and save your money wisely and you will lead a financially stress-free life.