Budget tips for college students are extremely helpful when you get to this point in your life! Being out on your own and needing to manage your own money can prove challenging at some points, and this is when budget tips for college students come in handy. Keep on reading if you’re a college student or about to become a college student, because this article will have tips just for you!
1. Differentiate between Needs and Wants
Here’s one of my number one budget tips for college students. You must learn to balance between needs and wants. Your needs will always come first, and your wants second. You have to live within your means, so if your wants exceed your needs, you must either get another job, or sacrifice those wants. It’s a tough thing, but you can do it! It’s only for a little while.
2. Buy Textbooks Used
Before buying your book brand new, always check for it used. I love online sites, such as eBay or Amazon. If you don’t have luck there, your campus may have a used bookstore you can browse through!
3. Get Your School Supplies in Bulk
One of my best tips for college student budgeting is to shop for school supplies in bulk. Whether you get them all for yourself or take along a friend and split the costs and supplies, you will save money either way. Check out places like Costco or Sam’s Club for the best deals.
4. Shop at Thrift Stores
Some people squirm at this idea, but its really very practical. I’ve found some amazing deals on name-brand stuff in great condition at my local thrift stores! If you need some new clothes this semester, give this thought a try. When you see the savings you can make, you may be convinced!
5. Sell Unwanted Items
If you have a Facebook page, you should check to see if you have a local “garage sale” page for your area. People list things they have for sale or want to buy, and then you can meet up. This is a great way to get rid of old clothes, textbooks, or other items, while bringing in a little extra spending money! Always meet in a public place, and take along a buddy when possible for extra safety.
6. Make a Grocery Menu
Making and sticking to a grocery budget is always hard, especially once you get to the store and see all your favorite foods staring you in the face! My best tip is to ONLY take the amount of money you want to spend, then ask yourself if you are getting anything you can do without. Buy store-brands if possible, and get things that are on sale. Using coupons is a great way to save!
7. Split Costs with Friends
An age-old concept, but it works beautifully. For college students who want to go and have fun, or get away for the weekend, why not pool your money and split the costs? You can do fun activities for relatively cheaper this way. This works for any kind of activity, whether large or small. The more, the merrier!
8. Set Aside Emergency Funds
Here’s a smart thing for us all to do, whether college student or not! Try and set aside a bit of money each month for those emergency funds. You never know when you will need extra school supplies, another tank of gas, or even a midnight snack run. It helps to have a cushion to sit on in times of need, what if you were to get a flat tire tomorrow? Having an emergency fund helps out in this area.
9. Pay with Cash
One of my favorite tips for budgeting in general, but especially for college students, is to always pay with cash. On paydays, withdraw however much cash you plan to spend that week, and don’t use your debit card. It’s harder to watch cash go than it is to swipe a card, so you will think twice before making unnecessary purchases.
10. Avoid Getting a Credit Card
One of the worst things most college students do is get a credit card and jump into debt right away. This is risky business, since it gives you an extra bill each month, and most young people view a credit card as “free money.” This isn’t true! You DO pay for expenses put onto a credit card, and usually with interest. So avoid getting a credit card if at all possible.
Of course, regular common sense applies when creating your budget, so remember to live below your means. Walk to class or work when possible to save gas, or pass up an opportunity to shop if you’re low on cash. Tips like these help college students get by on a budget! What are your tips for living on a college student budget?