Stretching Your Cents on a Tight College BudgetJuly 28, 2016, 10:18 AM
Everybody knows it's tough to keep a dollar when you're on a tight budget. As a college freshman, you'll quickly figure out what it feels like to be living with confined finances. Here are a few ways you can stretch your cents while living on a strict college budget:
Set Up a Savings Account. Sure, this seems like an obvious answer, but when you get busy with school and socializing, it can easily fall by the wayside. Set up a savings account as soon as you settle in to ensure that it doesn't land on the bottom of your to-do list. To keep the temptation of transferring at bay, open a savings account at a bank or credit union where you don't have a checking account. This will help you keep distance between your saving and spending money. If you're going to school away from home, establish a savings account in your hometown so it's not so easily-accessible when you feel like splurging.
Find a Campus Job. A lot of new freshmen buck at the idea of earning a buck on campus, but this can be a golden ticket if you do your research. Almost every campus job is built around students' schedules. This means you'll usually be afforded the ability to study while you're working or be granted time off when it's exam time. You'll maximize your earnings hours while still maintaining your study schedule, which means you're making money while earning your education. Most colleges have an incredible amount of campus employment opportunities, so be sure to ask around, keep your ears open, and search online.
Allocate Your Funds Appropriately. When you get a job, you'll be asked how you want to be paid. Be sure to allocate a few bucks to your special savings account. Five or ten bucks will measure up to great amounts by spring break. Have this money directly deposited into your special savings account so you don't even miss it when payday arrives.
Use Your Dining Hall Wisely. This "free food" is a huge luxury, so take advantage of it! If your meal plan allows for three meals a day, go to your dining hall three times a day! Food is expensive, and dining halls are food oases there for your dining pleasure!
Have Dinner Parties. Even cramped college dorms can be filled with elaborate eats if you're willing to put in the effort. Host weekly dinner parties where everyone brings a dish. This will enhance the entree choices and sustain awesome socialization while keeping your wallet in check.
Nobody said stretching cents is easy, but your college years will probably be some of the best years of your life, and every dollar saved will be well-spent on memory-making ventures that are worth their weight in gold!