Being in college is probably one of the hardest phases in a person’s life. You are on your own with only your parents’ allowance and part time jobs to keep you afloat in the years that you have to finish your degree. As a young person it is hard to manage your finances, especially if you are short on budget with all the student loans that you are paying and your day to day subsistence. But there are simple ways that you can do so you stay on budget and you do not incur more debt while you are in college.
Keep a journal for your budget.
Writing down your monthly budget is a very effective way of managing your finances. Make a list of your fixed monthly needs such as groceries, utility bills, credit card payments, student loan payments, miscellaneous expenses, etc. List down also your sources of income (e.g. allowance from your parents, if any, or any job you have while in school) and compare your expenses against your income to see if you turn up negative or positive in your monthly budget. And don’t forget to include your monthly savings as well.
If your expenses are more than your income, try adjusting your budget to fit everything. Doing so may mean scrimping a bit on some things, but you will get used to being frugal if you are disciplined in following your budget to a T.
Cut down on eating out in restaurants.
Admit it, there are times when you feel so lazy to cook and you just want something that will be served to you cooked and ready to eat. But eating out at restaurants a few times a week can make a dent on your budget. Instead, stock up your fridge with cooking ingredients and cook most days, if not everyday, so you can save money from eating out. The best way to go about this is to make a weekly menu on what you want to cook so you can buy the ingredients from the grocery all at once.
If rice is part of your staple food, cook it using a rice cooker, so it doesn’t get burned. Preparing rice is easy. When preparing rice, all you have to do is wash and rinse the rice and add the appropriate amount of water. Compact rice cookers are the best. These compact rice cookers are very easy to use and cook rice fast.
Minimize your credit card use.
Credit cards take up a huge chunk of your budget if you always use it, even in purchasing small items. If you have several credit cards, assign which one you will use for grocery shopping, which one for booking flights for going home, etc. Or better yet, keep only one card and ask the bank for a small credit limit so your monthly payments are not too big. Pay with cash as much as possible and if you are out on a weekend, leave your credit cards at home to prevent you from making impulse purchases.
Save, save, save.
The best principle in saving and spending is this: spend what is left after saving, not save what is left after spending. This is a very simple principle. Pool all your income each month and allot a fixed percentage that will go directly to your savings account. Work around what is left for your budget. This will allow you to live comfortably during rainy days.
These are just some of the things that you can do so you can withstand four or five years of college without having to fall down the depths of debt. Aside from concentrating on getting good grades at university, another one of your responsibilities is to stay afloat financially while doing so.