Being at college means dedicating yourself to the pursuit of education, but remember – learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom. College is also a time to study the art of how to live your best life; and an opportunity to form money habits that will help you out for years to come.
One of the best habits you can learn right now is how to manage your money on a student budget. To get started on this particular educational journey, you don’t have to sign up for any classes or purchase a single textbook. Simply put a few of these healthy money habits into practice right now and you’ll be well on your way to balancing college and money, and building a more financially secure future.
Look at your bank statement
With so much assigned reading in class, it’s probably the last thing you want to do when you get home. But reading your bank statement and any other financial mail you receive in college is an important way to understand your savings, your spending, and your credit. Reading bank correspondence and dealing with it right away – whether that means paying a bill, or calling the bank if any numbers don’t look right – are fantastic money habits that will not only keep your student budget on course, but also help you stay financially literate and healthy for many years to come.
Become a brilliant bargain hunter
College is precisely the right time to learn how to spend money wisely, because there are so many great deals for students on a budget. Research which stores have student discounts before you embark on a big shopping trip; hold off on making a big purchase until seasonal sales are on; and if you’re really strapped for cash, check out campus events that offer free food and entertainment. If you can master the art of hunting for bargains on a student budget, you’ll be set to spend your money wisely in the future.
Do your research
College and money have something in common – in order to get the most from them, you need to invest some serious time in figuring out how it all works. With college you’ll need to learn the names of buildings; with money, you’ll need to learn terms like “credit score” and “equity.” When you come across a concept you don’t know, do your research. For example, knowing what your credit score is, and how it can affect your ability to get a loan or buy a house, might help you to be smarter about how you spend money in the short-term.
Start a Savings Jar
If you think you can’t possibly save while living on a student budget, think again. All you have to do is put aside a few dollars or even just a few cents in order to start building a lifelong savings habit. Decide what you want to save for, how long it will take and how much money you can afford to set aside. Then, don’t let yourself be tempted into digging into your savings before you’ve reached your goal – because when it’s finally time to buy, the rewards will be worth the wait.