Tip Tuesday: Spending money on a college budget
Dealing with academic responsibilities and expenses at the same time can often be a tough job. Long gone are the days where your parents’ allowances were a reliable source of income. Many college students enter the age where they must clock in endless hours at part-time jobs just to keep themselves from getting into a cycle of debt.
Here are six tips to help salvage your wallet from the trials of being a college student:
Learn to Cook
This might sound like such simple advice, but surprisingly many college students rely on eating out. A week’s earnings can sometimes be spent in a single restaurant sitting.
College is all about learning and self-discovery, and the art of cuisine is no exception. Save a bundle by cooking your meals at home. Not only will this help you be more aware of your nutritious intake, it will help you be a more self sufficient, well-rounded person.
With increasing gas prices, constant traffic and lengthy distances from home to school, you may begin to see all of your hard-earned paychecks go directly to gas expenses. See if you can carpool with another UH student who lives close to you or has a similar school schedule.
On tips to being a UH Green commuter, visit: www.uh.edu/pts/greencommute.htm.
Create a budget
With the convenient swipe of a credit card, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re actually spending. Write down your monthly income and estimated expenses in advance. Try managing your budget by tracking expenses using an online personal finance management tool like Mint.com. This can help point out how many unnecessary Starbucks frappuccinos you’ve had and motivate you to stick to a budget.
Do your homework on loans and financial aid
See if you can apply for financial aid. If you’re thinking of getting a student loan, be sure to understand what the exact size of your student loan will be upon graduation and come up with a detailed plan on how to pay it back. Talk it over with your parents or a financial aid advisor. Living on campus may not be the most financially beneficial plan.
Pay the Interest
Interest is a sneaky thing. Every year you’re in school, your student loan interest slowly gets bigger.
By paying a little bit towards your interest each month, you can prevent yourself from an drowning in an overwhelming burden by the time you graduate.
Here are some tips to paying off your student loans: www.forbes.com/sites/lawrencelight/2014/09/09/how-to-pay-off-student-loans-early/.
For an in-depth explanation on loan capitalization, check out: www.mygreatlakes.org/educate/knowledge-center/what-is-interest.html.
Access Student Discounts
Having your student ID on hand can be surprisingly advantageous if you know about all the student offers out there. This can range from movie tickets to computers and traveling. Amtrak and Greyhound both offer discounts while STA Travel offers cheap flights for student travelers.
Check out our recent article on what discounts are out there for UH students here.
Being a college student can be expensive. Textbooks, gas prices, countless dates, and endless food can drain out a college student’s wallet. But learning the basics when it comes to money management can be extremely beneficial in the long run. By keeping track of your expenses and having set plans to attend to, you can prevent yourself from graduating with massive debt. Lay the groundwork for smart budgeting and learn the value of accountability. Good luck!
For more ways to save money in college, visit: http://www.collegescholarships.org/student-living/save-money.htm