If you are struggling to manage your money while in college, you may be wondering if you are doing things correctly. It might seem like everyone around you can afford to go out to eat, buy clothes, and travel, while you struggle to buy textbooks for that semester. However, if you are struggling financially, know you are not alone. There are a few steps you can take to reduce the stress of managing your money, so you do not struggle as much.
Use Online Platforms to Make Things Easier
A budget is hard to stick to if it is not in a format, you find easy to use. You don’t have to use a pencil and paper or spreadsheet to budget when there are lots of apps that will do most of the work for you. You can manage everything from your phone, so it’s easy to check your accounts whether you are in your dorm or on the go. With some apps, you can connect directly to your bank account, and they will pull debit and credit information from your accounts in one easy-to-read dashboard.
These allow you to manage your expenses, so you are less likely to miss a payment. It’s easy to start saving money now by using an online marketplace of providers of different financial products. You’ll be able to compare rates on everything from scholarships to student loans, to FAFSA, for paying for your college education.
Mitigate Financial Struggles with a Budget
When you were in high school with few to no necessary expenses, you may have spent whatever you had in your bank account and lived off your parents. However, once you go to college, you need to understand the importance of budgeting and that all money is necessary for your success. Even if you have never budgeted before, sit down with your parents to go over your finances together. Spend some time writing down all your sources of income, whether it’s from a job, your parents, or financial aid.
You can then sort each of your expenses into a category, so you know where all this money is going. Make sure you include tuition, textbooks, and any living expenses. Even though your parents can help you create a budget, they can’t force you to stick to it. Ultimately, your money is your responsibility, and it is up to you to stick to it and understand what you can afford.
One of the best ways of reducing the temptation to spend is by having financial limits in place. These limits will prevent you from spending money on unnecessary items. While these limits may not help to reduce impulse purchases, they can give you a chance to think twice about whether certain items are necessary. You may have a limit of about $50 to $100 each month, which gives you some spending money but not so much that you accidentally blow all your money. Keeping your fun money separate from the money used for living expenses can also alleviate stress.