How to Budget in College

In college there are so many things to buy: Clothes! Food! Knick-knacks you don’t really need at the boutiques uptown!  But unfortunately there is not always enough money to buy these things. For many, the struggle is real, but you don’t have to let it consume you. Budgeting is an important life skill, so you might as well start learning different ways to do so now.

Learn to Differentiate Between Wants and Needs

As painful as it may sound sometimes you have to let go of “small” splurges, such as a five dollar coffee every day.  Those purchases may seem little, but they add up over time and a month’s worth of coffee could buy you a new outfit or pay off that electric bill.

That being said, treat yourself every once in a while. Budgeting money doesn’t always have to mean denying yourself the beautiful things in life; it just means indulging responsibly.

Another way to avoid impulse buying is to wait a couple of days after you see something you like and think about it. If you don’t think any more about it, you probably would have wasted your money if you bought it. However, if you can’t get it off your mind then you know you really want it.

Track Your Spending

There are several apps that can help you do this, such as YNAB (You Need A Budget), Mint, LearnVest, DailyWorth, and SimpleTrack. A more hands-on approach would be to keep your receipts and bills, figure out how much money you spend a week and on what, and take action from there. This will help you see where you are spending most of your money and if you are overspending in any areas.

Divide Your Money

Allot some money for the necessities, put some aside for emergencies and some more toward whatever your goal is, and allow yourself only a certain amount for fun purchases. This only works if you stick to it.

Allot some money for the necessities: groceries, bills, toiletries, etc.  Next, put aside some money for emergencies. Then put aside more to go towards whatever your goal is. Allow yourself only a certain amount for fun purchases every month with the remaining funds. Remember, this only works if you stick to it!

[Does this need expanding? How to create a basic monthly budget?] This YouTuber, Sugar Mamma, has a channel all about budgeting and managing finances!]

Find Ways to Make Extra Money

Taking on more shifts at work or getting an extra job can take away from your homework time, but there are so many easy ways to make a few dollars on the side. Do you have a crafty streak? Sell the things you make in your spare time. Have some clothes and other things you’d like to get rid of? Sell them or take them to a consignment shop. Some websites even pay you to take surveys. (You can also get free things from these surveys, which is always a perk.)

Happy budgeting, collegiettes!