You studied hard, wrote a killer college essay, and now you’re getting ready for college life. It can be easy to get caught up in scheduling classes, getting in the same dorm room as your best friend, and stocking up on school supplies. Don’t let yourself overlook the necessary planning for how you’re going to pay for your basic living expenses while going to school!
Make a Budget
Source: Technology Advice
Whether you’re living at home or in a dorm, brown-bagging your lunch or buying on campus, paying your own tuition or utilizing a scholarship, you are going to find yourself with expenses. Sit down with a pen and paper and figure out how much money you need to budget out for your basic needs, mainly your living situation, transportation, food, school supplies and textbooks, tuition, insurance, cell phone, and whatever else you find to be a consistent expense. Put as many items on autopay as you can to avoid late payments and fees.
Take Advantage of College Resources
You may be surprised to find just how many programs and systems your college has in place to make your life easier. Do a little research to find out what different resources are offered! Many college campuses offer things like meal plans, inexpensive on-campus housing, and plenty of opportunities for scholarships and grants. Advancing your education can prove to be a bit pricey, so take the time to look into what your college has put into place to make things easier for you.
Responsible Credit Card Use
Source: CI Online
For items in your budget that you can’t set up autopayments for, such as gas and groceries, consider looking into getting a credit card. Responsibly using a card with visa platinum benefits will raise your FICO score, get you better credit, and can be very helpful if you ever find yourself in a pinch. Jade Beckman, vice president of consumer loans at Mountain America Credit Union advises that “focusing on mindful credit card usage early on can prove to be extremely helpful down the road when you’re in need of a car or home loan – make your credit score a priority now!”
Source: The Teaching Professor
For many, leaving for college is your first time being away from home, and you’ll find yourself handling quite a bit of freedom. It can be easy to get carried away by the notion of being so independent-do your very best to keep yourself grounded and practice self-control. While it may seem fun to go out to eat a couple of times a week or go on that fun weekend excursion with your friends, if it doesn’t fit in the budget, it doesn’t need to happen. Staying frugal and saving on the small things will definitely prove to be worth it!
So, as you prepare for this next adventure, make sure to take some time to make a plan on how you are going to pay for your living expenses. One of the keys to success in your schooling as maintaining peace of mind, and having your finances under control will certainly prove to help you keep you cool, calm and collected.