Are you getting ready to move out and head to college? It’s an exciting step, and there’s a lot to think about. If you’re getting ready to go, you’ll want to know how to budget effectively. It’s the first time you’ll be handling all your finances on your own, so here’s some tips on how to do it well.
1. Get Into Couponing
When you think of people who coupon, you think of your mom or grandma clipping out coupons to use at the grocery store. It’s not cool, but it can save you a fortune. There’s coupons out there for almost anything, so always search online before you make a purchase. It’s amazing what you can find out there.
There are some apps that can even do this for you. “If you don’t already use Honey, you’ll want to get that browser extension now” says Evan Ballingham, a budgeting blogger from My Writing Way and Resumention. “It looks for coupons when you’re shopping online, and applies them for you to save you money.”
2. Try To Start Paying Off Your Student Loans
Depending on you and your situation, this may not be possible. However, if you can, don’t wait until graduation to start paying off student debt. The sooner you can start paying the better, so try building payments into your budget.
Don’t worry if you’re only able to make small payments at this point. Even if you’re just paying off the interest, you’ll be able to make a decent dent in the loans by the time you graduate.
3. Try To Create Some Savings
Yes, you’re on a tight budget as a student and creating some savings feels like the last thing you want to do. The thing is, emergencies happen and you want to be prepared for them. If your car breaks down, a roommate moves out without warning, or your laptop needs repair, then you’ll be covered.
Again, save what you can, even if it’s a small amount. That way if something does happen, you have a financial cushion that will help soften the blow for you.
4. Invest Your Spare Change
This is something that a lot of students are doing right now, as it’s easy to do. There are lots of investing apps, like Acorns, that can do this for you. You just link up your debit or credit card, and then every time you make a purchase, the app rounds up the amount to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change for you.
You’ll be saving money, as well as investing it and getting the opportunity to see it grow. If you want to get more out of your money or learn how to invest, this is a good way to do so.
5. Use Your Student Email Where You Can
Your student email address can bag you discounts in so many places, so make sure you’re using it wherever you can. For example, you can use it to get Prime Student on Amazon, and get a cheaper rate for all the benefits that brings you.
Make sure you’re always checking to see if a student discount is available. There are so many places that will discount prices for you, so ask and find out.
6. Take Classes At A Community College
Want to save money on your education? Then your local community college can be the way to go. “You can go to a community college instead of a traditional university, and get the same level of education depending on your subject” says Shanice Devlin, a writer at Let’s Go And Learn and Studydemic. “It’s also a good option if you’re looking to reduce the time you spend at a regular university, to save on the fees.”
Before you head off to college, start looking into whether a community college can make things cheaper for you. Your school should be able to help with this.
These are some of the best tips for students just about to go to college for the first time. If you take care of your money, you’ll be able to get through your studies without having to worry about cash. Try these tips out, and you’ll see how much easier it’ll make it.