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How to Not Go Broke 101: Managing Finances as a College Student

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MUJ chapter.

As a college student, managing finances can be a daunting task. Especially towards the end of the month when funds run low. However, with strategic planning and discipline, one can avoid going broke and even save money.

  • Create a Budget:

List all sources of income and categorize expenses. Allocate specific amounts for essentials like tuition, books, accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment. Set a financial limit for unnecessary items.

Tip: Create a monthly budget using a simple spreadsheet. It helps to visualize where the money goes and identify areas where one could cut back.

  • Save on Textbooks:

Tip: Look for second-hand books, online resources, or consider sharing books with classmates to cut down on textbook expenses. For example, websites like BookFinder or Indian platforms like BookChor offer discounted or second-hand books.

  • Online Learning Platforms:

Tip: Explore free or low-cost online courses for skill development.

For example, platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer a variety of courses. Invest in skills that can enhance your employability.

  • Socialize Smartly:

Tip: Plan affordable social activities.

For example, instead of expensive outings, organize potluck dinners, game nights, or movie marathons at home with friends.

  • Utilize Student Discounts:

Tip: Take advantage of student discounts on transportation, food, software, and other services. Always carry your student ID. Many local businesses offer student discounts. From public transport to food outlets, these discounts add up over time. For example, many companies in India, like Ola, Uber, and restaurants, offer exclusive discounts to students.

  • DIY and Repairs:

Tip: Learn basic DIY skills for small repairs and maintenance tasks. This can save you money on hiring professionals for minor fixes.

  • Financial Literacy Workshops:

Tip: Attend workshops or webinars on financial literacy. Many universities in India organize sessions on financial planning, investing, and managing student loans.

  • Scholarships and Grants:

Tip: Continuously search for scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible.

For example, the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) in India is a platform where students can apply for various government scholarships.

  • Public Transportation:

Tip: Use public transportation or, share cabs to cut down on commuting costs.

For example, in cities like Delhi, Mumbai the Metro is a cost-effective and efficient mode of transportation for students.

  • Freelancing and Side Hustles:

Tip: Explore freelancing opportunities in areas where you have skills.

For example, graphic design, content writing, and programming are skills that can be monetized through platforms like Fiverr or Freelancer.

  • Second-Hand Purchases:

Tip: Consider buying second-hand books, furniture, and electronics.

For example, utilize platforms like OLX, Quikr, or local second-hand stores to find affordable items.

Plan for the future. While it may seem early, start thinking about your financial goals beyond graduation. Consider opening a retirement account, explore investment options, and educate yourself about financial planning. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow. By implementing these financial management strategies, college students can pave the way for a financially secure and stress-free academic experience.

Mariya, a 18-year-old wordsmith. She is a first year student of Manipal University. Growing up with love for reading, made her start weaving her own stories and led her to be a writer. Her writing explores themes of identity, finances, friendship, etc. Beyond the pages, She is a typical teen with a penchant for coffee shops, old bollywood songs, sketching and fashion.