College life is among the most fun, adventurous, and memorable phases in one’s life. It is an exciting time filled with a whole lot of new experiences, where making mistakes and learning from them marks yet another crucial step in your young adult life. Leading a life of financial independence should be a primary goal for all individuals, and this journey begins as a college student. Managing personal finances at this stage may be pretty challenging, but doing it right is highly rewarding in the long run.
Since your college curriculum does not comprise lectures on personal finance management, here is a handy guide. While some of these tips might seem overwhelming, they go a long way in ensuring that you lead a financially successful college life.
The trick to remaining as financially happy as possible is to set a budget and stick to it. Creating a budget helps you keep a track of what you are spending on and alerts you when you are crossing your limits. Map out all your expenses and categorise them to know where your money is going. If Excel sheets are not your cup of tea, you can use various online sites and applications that make money tracking and management easy and convenient.
While most of the personal finance management for students comes from setting budgets and spending appropriately, you can strive to go beyond. Look for avenues of generating income through jobs that let you leverage your skills or hobbies. For instance, if you have a knack for writing, take up part-time content work. If you love singing, look up for cafes and other places that pay you for gigs, or conduct singing lessons. Or simply borrow a two-wheeler and become a delivery person for one of the gig economy companies. Such opportunities do not just let you monetise your skills during college life but also equip you with work experience.
Whether you like it or not, negotiating and asking for discounts is a very helpful practice. In fact, college students should become masters at exploring the various ways they can leverage their educational status to money. Many companies offer attractive discounts to gain and retain young customers. Be it restaurants, movie theatres, or even vacation opportunities, these businesses usually have student and group discounts, vouchers, or cashbacks. So do not hesitate in approaching a shopkeeper or a salesman for discounts or deals whenever you are out for such occasional splurges.
As a college student, it is often hard to ignore temptation, and giving in once in a while may not be a bad thing. But don’t make it a habit. Avoid overspending to keep up with peers. True, you only live one life and it is absolutely important to have some fun. But you need to be smart with your financial choices and strike a balance between living in the moment and creating a strong foundation for your future. Therefore, avoiding certain small luxuries can help you save a lot of money, and you will always have some more bucks to indulge in a more fun or a worthwhile experience later on!
Having an emergency fund is a boon when it comes to situations like unexpected medical bills or those month-end days of being broke. One of the best ways of creating an emergency fund is simply being careful with expenses. The 50-100 bucks that you cut off from your everyday expenses and save can also sum up to a substantial amount in a little while. Moreover, it is a fact that no one always makes perfect financial decisions, but there are ways to cover these blunders. For instance, there are some digital lending platforms available that cater to the financial needs of college students, with easy and convenient repayment structures. You may avail these in case of an unavoidable scenario, but that should always be your last resort.
The author is the Founder and CEO, mPokket