Tips for the money-conscious student

As university students who are transitioning to adulthood, most of us are working part-time or even full-time jobs in an effort to become financially independent. It’s imperative to understand the ins and outs of how to save that hard-earned money.

Saving money is an art that should be practiced early. Here is the bitter truth: money is an essential part of life. It doesn’t buy happiness, but it can help buy things that make us happy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • University of Illinois alumni and current senior manager at Shell Morris Megan said students should learn about markets and stocks from their universities. He said they should take interest in market trends and how bonds and equities work to help mint money. It may not be possible for students to invest money in stocks and bonds right away while studying, but a prior knowledge will give students an edge when they do decide to start putting aside parts of their paychecks.
  • Concerning credit, be aware to not go overboard with the credit limit on the card, and it is best to pay off the credit bills without much delay. It allows a more secured financial position, and it is never advisable to live in debt for a long time.
  • Be picky when it comes to purchasing meal plans. For students, meal plans are the most convenient way out, despite a lack of options in the cafeteria. It does get boring to compulsively eat the same kind of food every day. Instead of buying the most expensive plan, think about what you need from. A variety eater should experiment in the kitchen cooking themselves food of their choice. Also, it is easier to split grocery bills with roommates and not dig a hole in one’s pockets by constantly eating out.
  • Textbooks and school supplies are the other big expenses for students. Try and utilize the University’s resources as much as possible, because they are intended for the service of the students. Most books are available for check out at M.D. Anderson Library. If the library does not have the specific book a student is looking for, students can make a request at the Interlibrary Loan service; it is one of the most recommendable and best services in UH’s library.
  • Volunteering for trips and participating in outdoor organized trips from the University will prove much cheaper than planning for an expensive road trip with friends to a fancy location. Stay alert and take part in such activities, which also help in building essential skills.
  • With UH being a commuter school, carpooling is another good way for students to save gas money.
  • Electronics and gadgets get upgraded every year. There is always something better and more advanced than the previous model.Wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas sales; some companies even offer additional student discounts during this period. Most importantly, resist the temptation to buy something because your friend has it. Instead, think of its utility and future value. Ask yourself if it be sold later on sites like Craigslist to recover the cost.

Tracking expenses is a major part of managing money. The market has many free apps that help keep a track of budgets like the Student Budget Calculator or apps like Splitwise that are efficient for the busy student.

The bottom line is that money should be valued and treated with respect. The more money saved, the better it adds value later in future.

Opinion columnist Aishwarya Gogoi is a petroleum engineering graduate student and may be reached at [email protected].



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