College is a weird time. It’s a time when you are taking your first steps into independent adulthood, whilst also still having a lot of your old teenage tendencies. Chief among these teenage tendencies is the temptation to spend more money than you should, and unfortunately that is just not something that is going to fly when you are trying to make it through a college semester! Being financially smart is an essential thing to learn when you are setting out on your own for the first time. It will stop you from having to call your parents every other week to ask for more cash! Here are some ways to make your money last in college!
1. Set Limits with Your Parents
Before you go, sit down and have a conversation with your parents, and make sure that you get from them their expectations of how often you should be calling them for help. The more honest and strict they are with you, the more you will be motivated to set your own boundaries and adhere to them. If they make it clear that you can’t come to them whenever you need something, you will work harder to be self-sufficient.
2. Wants Vs. Needs
You need to separate what you want from what you actually need, because when money is tight is should be only the essentials that you are spending your money on. Of course, when you have a few extra dollars to spare, by all means treat yourself, but only after you have sorted out all of the ‘needs’ for the month.
3. Financial Aid
If you are in the position where you are benefitting from financial aid, make sure that you assign those funds appropriately rather than blowing them all on things that don’t really count towards your education like subscription services, take out food, vacations etc. The aid that you receive should be going straight into your education.
4. Finance App
We’ve got smartphones now, and one of the best things you can do with yours right now is download a budgeting app that can help you to visualise and keep track of your spending. There are literally dozens of top-class apps out there. It’s just a matter of choosing the one that you like best, being honest with how you input information and letting it make budgeting decisions for you that are going to be most beneficial in the long run.
5. Don’t Beat Yourself up
A lot of financial security and budgeting success relies on you not completely giving up if you make a mistake one week. If you overspend at the start of a month, that doesn’t mean that you should just give up and continue that behavior. Just stop your spending in its tracks, and start over again with a stricter budget to make up for your mistakes. It’s not the end of the world if you can make up for it in other areas to get back on track.