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Budgeting in College
Kid, you're on your own! And while the freedom is heady, it can also break the bank. For parents reading this, you've probably tried to impress upon your student that the money you've given him is for emergencies. But in college, every social opportunity constitutes emergency. With that in mind, here are a few ways you (or your child) can manage the money a little better.
1. Balance your checkbook
Does anyone even have a checkbook anymore? Even if you don't write checks, you should be writing down your transactions- debit card transactions don't always clear immediately as it depends on how they're used. So, make sure you take the time to look at your account and reconcile your balance to what the bank says you have.
2. Pay your bills on time
If you're late, you get a late fee. That's money that you don't have to spend if you just set up a schedule that pays your bills on time. Set a reminder on your phone the week before the payment is due. Write it in big red letters on your wall. Stick a sticky note to your computer. Whatever it takes for you to remember, but paying your bills on time will save you money and establish a positive credit record.
3. Change your drinking habits
Most college students hit the bar Friday and Saturday. And Thursday, and sometimes on Sunday afternoons. Fiscally speaking, you're pouring money down the drain. The best solution to save money is simply to forego drinking. However, we know that's not going to happen overnight, so try drinking at home, or going to a party to drink, instead. Beer purchased from a store is much cheaper than from a bar. All we ask is that, either way, you drink responsibly.
4. Cut back on eating expenses
It's definitely important to eat, especially during those late night cram sessions, so we're not saying you should practice the starvation diet or anything. However, we are saying plan your meals and snacks ahead of time and you'll be able to save a ton of money by avoiding fast food and pizza all the time. You probably have a meal plan...use it! That's like free food, man!
These are just a few of the many quick tips that can help college students save money. What others can you think of? [College News]
I agree that most college students should have a part-time job while in college. Not only does it give you a little extra cash, but it also definitely helps transition you for the real world. Plus, most of the part-time jobs around campus are flexible and you might even be able to get some study time in, as Karadc mentioned.
I really advise getting a part-time job on campus. At my school there were tons of places you could "work" but also get some homework done, like the library. That way you can stop relying so much on your parents and ease into the real world slightly while you're still in college.