Avoid debt by budgeting wisely while away at school.
Back to school for some students will mark the beginning of life as a young adult. Whether living in an off-campus apartment or in a dorm room, the temptation to avoid budgeting wisely and spend money will pop up frequently. To start off on the right financial path it’s important to budget well and plan how your money will be spent.
In addition to adopting the right money management skills and tools, there are budgeting tips that can help you save money while studying. You may not be able to avoid student debt while attending school, but with a few of our budgeting tips you should be able to stretch the money you have. Enjoy your educational experience without dipping in to a credit card or loan to supplement your living costs.
1. Don’t eat take-out meals
Buying food on campus can get costly. If you compare the cost of one lunch out to what you could purchase for the same cost to make sandwiches at home, it is easy to see how much you can save by preparing your own food. You can save a lot of money by making your lunch at home and it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time to prepare. Don’t forget to bring snacks and beverages as well – the cost of these “extras” can really add up if you’re stuck buying them from vending machines and convenience stores.
2. Limit social events to a reasonable expense
Set a budget in advance – how much can you afford to spend on nights out at the pub? Once you know how much you can afford to spend, figure out how much it costs to go out for the evening. As soon as you know the average cost of a night out, divide that number by what you can afford. The result will be how many nights out you can afford to go out in a month. Choose wisely and watch Netflix on your laptop a little more often, hit the gym or books instead.
3. Take advantage of free campus entertainment and inexpensive gym memberships
Hitting the gym or books can be a healthy distraction from all of the fun things that happen on campus. Student gym memberships are usually reduced in cost so be sure to look into this option if you like to work out. Campus libraries can be really interesting places to spend more than just study time. You may be surprised at the variety of unique books, films, music and more that your school’s library has.
Free campus entertainment and events with low admission fees will pop up from time to time. Concerts and dance parties may pop up at the beginning of the school year – be selective about which ones to attend, don’t sacrifice your studies for social events, but definitely take advantage of a few freebies.
4. Don’t bring the car
Parking is expensive and campus spots are often at a premium. Leaving your car behind during the school year might save you a lot of money. You’ll still pay for insurance of course, but if you’re not driving much you may also want to speak to your broker and find out if you can reduce the cost of your insurance during school months.
5. Live with roommates
If you really want to save on your budget, reduce your rental costs by sharing accommodations. Roommates can be a lot of fun, or a challenge and learning experience in the art of patience. Roommates can also help you save a lot of money by sharing rental costs. To reduce housing costs share an apartment with another student – or rent a room in a house. If you are looking for shared student accommodations, try checking message boards with your school.
With a few solid budgeting tips you can get through school without adding to any student debt you may have. Remember, when you graduate you’ll repay whatever you owe while trying to establish yourself in a new career. For students who have already overspent during school, give us a call to find out more about your options, 310-4321. If you’re already in debt trouble, let us help you avoid bankruptcy.
You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your future.