College can be an exciting and rewarding time in many people’s lives; however, it can take a toll on one’s financial health. Most college students do not have a job or can only work part time, and most have to depend on scholarships or loans. It can be easy to get into a lot of debt during the college years, but you can take steps to keep yourself financially healthier than many of your peers. Managing your personal finances is a pivotal part of being an adult, so make sure that you are taking steps in the right direction. For an easy starting place, consider these five practical tips.
1. Create a Realistic Budget
Everyone should have a personal budget so that he or she does not overspend. However, this budget must be realistic. You will most likely want to eat out, buy new clothes and go places with friends during your time at college. Instead of not budgeting those activities into your spending at all, you should simply create limits for yourself. If you do not account for these categories, you will go over your budget every time. If you just set a maximum amount that you can spend on these activities, though, you can better decide what you can and cannot participate in.
2. Learn To Cook for Yourself
Eating out can wreak havoc on anyone’s wallet and waistline. Cooking for yourself may seem like a daunting task, but there are plenty of cooking videos online to help you get started. Establishing healthy eating habits at this time in your life is not something you will regret, and as an added bonus, you will be able to save more money.
3. Do Not Take Out the Maximum Amount of Loans
Personal finance gurus like Kathryn Eytle Mclean will all tell you that you should not drown yourself in debt. While you may have to take out student loans to pay for your education, try not to take more than you need. It can be easy to draw the maximum amount and worry about how you will pay it back later. However, this is not always the best choice, and you should only borrow what you absolutely need.
4. Look for Less Expensive Living Arrangements
Renting an apartment or house with other students is often more economic than renting a place by yourself. If you know that you will be in the area for a few years, ask your landlord if you can get any kind of discount on an extended lease.
5. Take Advantage of Scholarships
Never stop researching what scholarships are available to you. These can help supplement your student loans and leave you with less debt after earning your degree. Ask your department head or advisor where you can find specific scholarships for your major.
College is a thrilling time full of making new friends and memories. In order to make the best of it, follow these personal finance tips to keep you finances healthy throughout your college years.