You’ve probably heard that college is expensive. Who hasn’t by this point? There’s been lots of talk and debate about the amount of student debt college students have and continue to accumulate. All of that discussion about dire financial straits can be stressful, so what can be done to reduce that stress?
Stick to a Budget
It sounds old hat, but planning out a budget for college and sticking to it is one of the most important things you can do to manage your finances in college. As you create your budget, you’ll notice that some costs, such as rent, tuition, and sometimes utilities are fixed. Others, such as your food, entertainment, and sometimes transportation costs tend to fluctuate. Set upper spending limits on your fluctuating costs to help you avoid overextending yourself financially.
Start an Emergency Fund
One of the expenses you should include in your budget is an emergency savings fund. An emergency fund is for just that - emergency expenses. As for where to save it, savings accounts in banks tend to yield better dividends than checking accounts, so a savings account that you can access in an emergency is a good place to start. Look for banks with good fintech platforms. Young consumers are increasingly demanding digital financial services. As a result, more banks are adopting technology that allows their customers to access their accounts digitally via an app and are including features like savings goals that can track your savings progress.
Work During Summers
Managing your expenses and saving is all well and good, but if you don’t have enough money coming in, you’re going to end up in a tough spot. Consider taking the summer semester off of school and picking up a summer job. The income you earn can help offset some of your expenses. Put together a quality resume and start applying for jobs nearby. You may not land a glamorous job, but even flipping burgers is an option worth looking at if it will pay the bills.
Managing finances can be stressful, but it’s a critical life skill. College students can get a better handle on their finances and reduce stress related to them by planning and sticking to a budget, starting an emergency fund, and finding summer employment to offset the cost of college. While they may not fix the problem entirely, these steps can help make finances more manageable and teach valuable lifelong lessons in personal financial management.