Being broke in college is no joke, it’s a crisis practically and college students all across the globe are suffering from it so don’t worry, you’re not alone.
We weren’t blessed with a mommy or daddy who could pay our way through college leaving us stress-free and out of debt.
Nor did we have a rich uncle who sends us money every month.
Nope, we’re the ones who had to learn the hard way what a budget is and could probably break a world record for making a dollar stretch further than anyone else could.
But college doesn’t necessarily have to be that way…
I’m not saying it’ll be easy but if you go about it the right way, surviving college on a budget can actually be doable.
Surviving College On A Budget
There’re multiple ways you can approach this, but I’m gonna try and stick to # basic topics:
- Stretching your dollar
- Taking advantage of what’s already there
Of course, you might have to modify these to best fit you, but this should lay a solid foundation for those of you going into college of those of you who already are enrolled and need some help.
The best methods to survive college on a budget
Ditch the plastic
Might be old fashioned to a lot of us “millennials” these days, but one thing we’ve found that is the single most effective saving method is using cash.
Take a set amount of cash (usually $100-$200) of your check every pay period and make that your spending money.
The reason for this is in this age when it’s so easy to spend money with a debit or credit card you can easily swipe away $100’s or even $1,000’s without really knowing it.
With cash, this gives you a great visual on how much you’ve been spending and can have a drastic impact on suppressing your spending.
Live within your means
Yea that Gucci belt looks nice but is it really worth not putting gas in your car?
You’re going to have to come to terms that the lifestyle you want will come but right now you might not be able to support it.
You’re in college, almost everyone is budgeting, scraping pennies and looking for the next dollar, so don’t try and pretend to be somebody you’re not.
I’m not saying you have to dress or look like a bum, but right now we might be more of an Old Navy shopper rather than Louis Vuitton.
Avoid Credit Cards
Credit card companies love to prey on college students, they know we’re vulnerable and the thought of having access to “quick cash” is enticing enough to draw us in.
Don’t let them fool you, with a majority of college students having a (most likely) rather unimpressive credit scores they charge ridiculous interest rates and have anything but your best interest at heart.
Unless absolutely necessary try your best to avoid them while you’re still in school, we don’t need any more debt outside of student loans as it is already.
(A great way to counter the possible need for a credit card would be starting a little emergency fund, put a set amount of money from every check aside for a rainy day fund.)
Take advantage of what’s already there
If it’s the gym, recreation, entertainment, food, etc. if your college offers it as part of your enrollment take advantage of it.
There’s no need to pay for something when it’s already offered.
Keep an eye on what discounts you get with your enrollment.
Most college towns know that they have a huge reflux of potential customers and want to draw them in.
Businesses (restaurants, groceries stores, etc.) will often offer student discounts or specials to draw students in, so why not take advantage?
SALES, SALES, SALES
If you’re not a big shopper but have a partner that loves to, take some notes.
Learning to be a smart shopper can make the difference while in college.
Now I’m not saying to be like one of those crazy coupon lady’s who buys the whole store for practically nothing but strive to save some money.
Don’t just go in somewhere and buy the first thing you see.
Subscribe to stores newsletters, magazines, etc. and see what sales they have going on.
Most businesses (if they’re smart) will often offer great deals to their subscribers or members to drive more sales helping their bottom line.
Since it’s not necessarily about margins in most markets, rather it’s about the ratio of cashing going in and out, a business will rather offer a discount for 30% off and get 200% more sales.
While they took a hit to their margins they still walked away with more cash at the end of the sale. Make sense?
Looking for a little more than just saving pennies?
While saving money is great, why not increase your budget by increasing your income?
I’ve been there, done that, and Broke College Solutions strives to do more than just give advice, we want to empower students to break the stereotype and become financially independent.
So for those of you who think they have the entrepreneurial itch or just want some extra cash every month here’s a great article on how to earn money as a student.
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