As college students, something I always hear around campus is how people our age do not have money. I get it, we’re in school, some of us don’t have jobs, and we’ve got a one-way ticket on the Struggle Bus. I’ve been there; actually, I AM there. As young people, it’s important to learn habits such as budgeting as quickly as possible. Sooner than later we’ll be graduated, shipped off to the real world, and if we have no money, how will we last?
This year I’ve decided to really buckle down and learn how to manage my money. This isn’t just a resolution for 2017, it’s a resolution for life. Below are three tips we all can use to prevent our wallets from emptying.
#1 Monitor Your Money
I believe one of the most important steps for saving is to realistically monitor how much you have, and how much you’re spending. If you’ve got $50 in your account, should you really buy a $30 jacket? And then grab coffee with a friend after? No. Spend wisely, and pay attention to what you’re buying. One app I swear by is called Mint. This app allows you to view your credit score, analyze where your money is going, track or pay bills, and much more. Mint automatically updates information as you spend, always giving you an accurate update on how you’re doing financially. The best part? The app is FREE! See, you’re already saving.
#2 Spend Wisely
In relation to above, if you don’t have much money, you shouldn’t be spending money! This is where the whole “Wants vs. Needs” mindset comes into play. If you’re trying to save money, you really need to develop that mindset. Chances are you’ll realize you don’t need much. If you truly do need something, then look at your account and see if you can realistically afford it. When you’re young and in college, it’s easy to get caught up with trends and feel the need to spend money, I get it. Is it worth it though? Not really. If you’re constantly on a budget, you should spend wisely because you never know what’s to come. It’s always a good idea to have money in your savings account for an emergency. If you’re blowing your money on trips to the mall and movies, you won’t have money for emergencies. To protect yourself, save money and spend wisely.
#3 Use What You Have
The beauty of living on campus is that there are so many resources available to students. If you live on campus, you should definitely take advantage of the resources! If you have a meal plan, use that before you use your own money. You’re already paying for a meal plan, why not use it? I understand campus food gets old and repetitive, but that just means you need to get creative. Instead of buying meals, buy things from campus markets that you can make on your own. The point is to use what you already have. If you like to work out, use the gyms on campus instead of paying for an off-campus membership. Most schools have not only gyms, but workout classes available. In regards to lifestyle items aside from food, please use what you’ve got in your room! Do you need another cardigan when you’ve already got seven? Is that pair of black flats necessary when you already have some? Don’t buy things you already own just because they’re new. Use what you have, and you’ll notice the amount in your account won’t lower.
To prepare you for the real world, it’s smart to begin healthy habits now. When you monitor your money, spend wisely, and use what you have, you’re benefiting yourself and your future. You don’t want to be stuck with $3 in your account, do you? No one does. There’re ways to prevent that. Remember: not everyone has to be a broke college student.