Managing your money as a college student is hard. You already have insanely difficult classes and possibly a part-time job to manage. How are you supposed to learn how to balance your finances on top of that? Well, there’s a few things you can do that will make things much easier. Here is how to manage your money better during college.
Make a Budget
Your college years are the first time when you will really have to start managing your own money and making budgets for yourself to account for spending. If you start this habit early, then you will really be able to stick to it for the rest of your life. You want to start thinking about all the different categories of spending that you have and you want to be realistic about how much you need to spend each week on those expenses. You can adjust these budgets from week to week as you start to get a better sense of what you do and don’t need.
Track Your Spending
A detailed budget will do you no good if you never open it up to track how you are actually spending your money. Once you have a number in mind for all of your budget categories, you are going to want to write it down and start tracking your spending in each area. Every time you spend money, you should take note of how much you spent and how much you have left for the week in that budget. If you find yourself spending too much from one budget, then you are going to have to decide which budget is going to have to suffer for the rest of the week in order to make up for your splurge.
Cook Your Own Food
One of the best ways to really save your spending cash in college is to cook for yourself. You can save so much money when you buy your groceries at the market rather than eating out for every meal. Not only will you burn a whole through your wallet and leave yourself with no money for anything else, but it is much harder to maintain a healthy diet when you are eating out all the time. So kill two birds with one stone and learn how to cook for yourself.
Keep a Bit of Cash on You
This may seem counter intuitive, but you should always keep a little cash on you. There are all kinds of places that only accept cash, and if you are always having to use ATMs, then a lot of your spending cash is going to be spent on banking fees. That’s why you should always have a little bit of pocket cash. Plus, in group situations, it’s always the quickest way to split a bill.
In the end, managing your money in college is all about embracing austerity. If you go to an expensive school like University of Maryland, then you are going to need all the spending cash that you can get. So you want to be very disciplined with yourself and never let yourself spend money just for the sake of buying things. When you don’t have to stress about money very much, you will be much happier than you would be if you had a brand new pair of sneake.