(DegreeAdvisers.com) – It’s time to plan for college. Like, really plan. One of the biggest concerns for many students is cash flow. It can be challenging to make dollars stretch during college. The good news is, there are plenty of options and opportunities to make money and persevere through graduation. Check out these five tips for managing your money through college.
Create a Budget
One of the best things you can do right now is to create a working budget. Don’t compare yourself to other students. Their financial situation is likely different from yours. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Make a list of your:
- Everyday expenses including room and board
- Monthly expenses like utilities, entertainment, transportation and groceries
- Tuition costs, fees and related expenses
From there, add up what is needed and what you have to work with. If there is a surplus, tuck it away for next month. If there’s a deficit, you’ll have to cut back or find a way to come up with more money.
Set Cash Aside
A good tip for money management is to create a savings account. This can be especially hard for college students, but it can be done. Anytime you get a little extra from your parents or earn tips from work, put this money away. Consider it the start of your emergency fund. As it builds, it will provide a sense of security.
Watch Your Student Loans
One of the biggest sources of cash flow you have access to is your student loans. But don’t be tempted. It can be easy to pick up the phone and ask for more cash, but remember you have to pay it back — with interest. The goal is to start paying it down as soon as you can and eliminate it as a debt source.
Use Credit Wisely
Credit card companies will be spitting out credit offers to you as they learn of your high school graduation. While it can be tempting, use caution.
If you’re in the early stages of money management, your parents might add you as an authorized user to their credit card. This allows you to use the card for certain expenses and pay it off at a low interest rate. When used effectively, it’s a good way to build up your credit.
Find the Right Job
It’s understandable that school is hard and takes up a lot of time. But, no matter what your academic or financial situation is, getting a job is a good idea. Find one that matches your schedule and needs.
Check on campus for a flexible opportunity. Venture out and find a job in your projected career path. Explore flexible side gigs that are profitable and will accommodate your schedule.
Managing money in college doesn’t have to be too complex. Remember, there’s more than one way to make it work. Don’t despair if you fall too short each month. Understanding how to stay on top of the money game is easy and once you get the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing from there.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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