A College Student’s Guide to Personal Finances

Jeanne A. Curley

As we all know, studying requires huge financial investments and we are not talking about the tuition fee alone. This is also the time when many college students have to make financial decisions on their own for the first time in their life. That, of course, puts a lot of stress on both the student and their family. What makes this issue even more complex is the fact that it includes many aspects and failing to address a single one may create some serious problems. That doesn’t mean that you should feel too intimidated by the problem, but rather prepare yourself to take the bull by the horns. So, let’s take a look at some of the steps you should take if you wish to survive the college days without major financial problems.

Monitor your expenditure

This is one of the most important pieces of advice that new college students should take. No funds are limitless, which is why a student needs to monitor their expenditure diligently. The information collected is extremely useful for making financial plans for the future. Being disciplined about monitoring how much money you spend and on what is both important and revealing. For example, you may discover that you spend way too much when you go out or on college books and material that you don’t really need. If you learn to interpret the data correctly and make correct adjustments, you’ll not only be rewarded with a better financial situation, but also with a sense of great accomplishment.

Save money with textbooks

In case you’re having problems with some exams, you’ll probably need to get some additional help. That help can be provided by a tutor or mentor, which would entail additional expenses. On the other hand, you may use the Internet to get hold of some fantastic and reliable resources, such as the Curtin past exams notes, where you can post your notes and thus get an opportunity to exchange notes with other students for free.

Set up a savings account

No matter how much money you have available, you should set some of it aside on a regular basis. That’s why it’s wise to create a savings account that you’ll be filling regularly. What you need to do is be disciplined and allocate even a small amount and constantly increase the balance. This will not only bring financial gain, but also teach you to be responsible towards money. If you set yourself a goal in terms of what you want to do with your money, you’ll feel even more motivated to continue saving.

Find sources of financing

There are many opportunities for students to get some finances, such as applying for academic scholarships, taking up student loans, getting a part-time job or even starting your own business. Life can sometimes toss you a curveball that your money account can’t handle, so quick loans can be a solution. Depending on your situation, interests and free time available, you may realise that you can’t devote enough time to becoming an entrepreneur or getting a part-time job. In that case, you should definitely consider applying for any kind of scholarship available or getting a student loan. However, you have to be careful and manage your student loan debt appropriately.

Getting a job

If, however, you can spare some time and have the necessary skills, you might start a side-job while at college. From landscaping service, blogging and tutoring to working at a café. This will help you develop some responsibility and working habits and it should provide you some much needed cash, too. Don’t take just any job that is offered to you. If you can’t imagine yourself doing it, just give it a miss. Find something that you’d feel comfortable doing, because you won’t feel frustrated doing it. That is important for avoiding unnecessary stress.

Entertainment on a budget

No college experience is complete without parties and other forms of entertainment. These moments are important, since they help you take your mind off studying, deadlines and exams. They are also an excellent opportunity for socialising. However, you don’t want to fall into a trap of overspending on entertainment. In order to avoid it, you need to establish a budget for entertainment and make sure you don’t go over it. A realistic plan should help you have enough fun while not spending more than you can afford.

The most important thing is to understand that you’re not the first person facing the world of finances for the first time. That means that you have to follow in the footsteps of millions of others who have managed to survive the college days and who have left so many fool-proof tips for those about to start a new stage in their life. Your task is simple – just listen to what they have to say and you’ll stand every chance of making the most of your college days, both in terms of education and socialising.

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