College life means more freedom and lesser restrictions. But with this newly found freedom also comes a box full of responsibilities. Things that you never had to bother yourself with before and were mostly taken care of by your parents are now your responsibility. Well, the scenes not the same anymore for most of the students, you have take of a lot of thing all by yourself. Form ensuring that you arrange for yourself a decent meal three times a day, paying your bills, laundry, to managing all your finances you have to do everything on your own.
It can be a little overwhelming to keep track of all your spending and manage your finances. Especially, if you never had to bother yourself with it before. Suddenly, being responsible for making the bill payments on time, paying rent, partying with friends and more with a tight monthly budget. Under such situations its fairly common for college students to experience some degree of financial stress especially in the early years of college life.
Here are some simple tricks that can help them manage their finances wisely and avoid being stressed out about running out of money before the next round of transaction comes in from home.
Find A Part-Time Job
When looking for part-time jobs as a college student it is imperative to keep in mind that you are 'a student.' You are doing this job to get some extra pocket money and you can quit it whenever you like. If by any chance you are not enjoying the job or feeling too stressed out with the work responsibilities, feel free to quit anytime no matter how good a pay it offers. Because being stressed about work will negatively affect your academics and that isn't what you want. Look for work near your college campus or place of stay and also ensure it before hand that your employer is supportive and understanding of your life and priorities as a college student.
Plan a budget
'Making a budget' that might seem like a very heavy duty task just hearing about it. Some of you might even have seen your parents back home sit down with calculators and keep a track of everyday spending etc. You however are in no need to plan that detailed a budget. All you need is your basic monthly expenses on a broad basis along with the sources of your income.List down how much you have to pay for bills, room rent, travel etc. Once all your major expenses are covered, you may divide the remaining money between entertainment purposes and emergency use. It will help you manage your expenses accordingly and reduce your stress levels by a great extent.
Stick to the budget
Planning a budget is all great and nice. But it's sticking to it every month that proves to be the herculean task. It is very easy to digress from the expenses limit that you have set for yourself or to pull out some of that extra money that you set aside every month for emergency purposes. That best way to keep yourself in check is to make cash payments wherever and whenever possible. It would prevent you from making unnecessary expenses. Also, keep track of your expenses and check your account for remaining amount on weekly basis to determine do you have enough to last the month or do you need to cut down on your expenses. Or, if possible find some alternative source of income.
Do I need it or Do I want it?
It is very important for you to learn to distinguish between your needs and your wants. For example, suppose that you are a coffee lover so, do you need a Starbucks coffee every morning or can you make do with the one made in your college canteen. Or best how about brewing some of it at your room? Saves you quite a lot on your monthly expenditure on coffee. Wants and needs are two very different things. Need is something that you cannot compromise with but want is something that you can cut short on or find a less expensive option for it. Basically, cut down on costs wherever and whenever possible.
Avoid Using Cards
When making payments with a card you hardly realize the amount of spending you make. All you have to do is swipe a card and a few hundred bucks vanish from your account. However, when making payments in hard cash you are actually reluctant of giving away money and you cut short on things you feel like you can make do without. It's not you should not keep your cards with you but the point is make them your last resort. Also, if you happen to own a credit card just imagine being buried under a credit card debt. Still, think things are difficult now, they would be a lot worse when being buried under a debt.
Apply For Financial Aid
A lot of college and universities offer financial aids to their students. However, off course you need to qualify the set criteria for that. Most of the time that include having your family's annual income below some defined limit. If your family happens to be going through a financial crisis it's a good option, for if you meet the desired criteria you might get a waiver on your tuition fee. Or if for some reason you are not applicable to get a financial aid from your institution they might suggest outside sources from where you can seek help.
Apply for Scholarships
Every college and institution offers scholarships to it students. However, the type and the number of scholarships offered vary greatly from institution to institution. Some offer merit based scholarships and some need based. However, of late, a lot of Indian institutions have caught up to the global trend of offering scholarships on the basis of certain extra -curricular talents especially to the budding sports stars. Apart from the academic institutions a lot of corporate houses, NGO's, government programs offer scholarship to students based on a vast variety of criteria's. You can also check for private scholarships that have seen a rising trend in the last few years.
Learning the art of managing your finances may seem an extra burden when beginning with it but over the time it will come out as a very beneficial habit. Starting early in the student life you won't have very big expenses nor very big incomes. Both would be decent amounts, easily manageable with the scope for making mistakes and learning from them. By the time you are out of college you would be much better at managing your finances a trick that would help you vastly when your start with your first full-time job.
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