Managing your finances all alone can be tough, especially in the beginning. It's not uncommon to miscalculate your budget during the first semester, and many students tend to overspend on food and coffee and wind up with too little money for class supplies. Students also sometimes take out larger loans than necessary and end up having to pay off huge debts over time. I've put together some tips to help you learn how to manage your finances wisely.
It can be daunting to manage your money during your college years. One of the most important things to do is plan ahead. Don't take out more money in loans than you actually need. If the loan gives you more than you truly need to spend, pay it back right away before you have to pay extra interest.
To figure out how much money you will need, you will need to create a budget. Write down what you think you will need to spend per month, and go over that budget at the end of the month to see where you should adjust it. Set aside a small part of your budget for fun activities, such as outings, eating with friends, or your favorite hobbies.
Buying textbooks at campus bookstores may not be the cheapest option. You can save money on books by buying them online - prices can be 50% lower than on campus stores. On many occasions you can also rent secondhand books from other students at the campus. Looking for your books in advance will help you find the best prices. You can sell, or rent your textbooks from the year before to pay for this year's textbooks.
Try not to overspend on food. Look into college meal plans and find one that will suit the actual amount of food that you will eat - don't jump head-first into the most expensive meal plan. It's alright to eat out with friends every once in a while, but beware of those frequent coffees and snacks because they can blow a big hole in your budget. Making your own coffee can save a huge amount of money over time!
Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and use credit cards wisely. Knowledge is key, and it pays off to understand the benefits and responsibilities of having a line of credit. As a student, you will start building your credit history which will greatly affect your life. Managing your credit wisely will help you get a better credit score that in in turn can help you get a better job, home loan, car loan and much more.
It is essential to shop around for the right credit card. The right student credit cards can offer you hefty benefits and perks on your spending. I've put together a selection of some of our best rated credit cards for students so that you can choose the card that's right for you.