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Managing College Finances

Academy of Learning College News

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25 October 2013

There’s never been a word that has caused more stress than “finances”. It’s something that everyone worries about, no matter how much money you have or don’t have. And as a student it’s an even bigger concern since paying tuition and completing assignments are your key priorities, neither of which is a money earner. Combine that with the fact that as many as 60% of students borrow student loans, it’s easy to see why finances are of such importance for students.

Since managing money is a necessity when dealing with financial constraints, here are some ways to maximize your dollars.

Create a Budget

Somehow this word has become absolutely evil. No one enjoys budgeting and no one enjoys going without. However with smart budgeting you should be able to still have fun while managing your finances. The first step on the path to budgeting is to track your finances. From there you should be able to create a budget and stick to it! If you have a smart phone there are also apps to help keep you on budget, while tracking your daily spending.

Each monthly expense should be planned for, such as bills and groceries, with your needs and essential expenses at the top of the budget and your wants at the bottom. Those of you taking accounting courses may find this second nature. For those of you who need more guidance, take a look at this government website for an example of a budget spreadsheet. Alternately, you can also create one on your own using Excel or if you’re taking graphic design courses, get creative and design a fun budgeting sheet that will remind you of your long term goals.

Cut Back

One of the essentials to sticking to your budget is to cut back on your expenses. For example, if you feel that this year you absolutely need a new winter coat for the season, then you should cut back on going out with friends and use this “saved” money towards that new purchase. Your primary objective with cutting back should be to prioritize essentials.  If making a purchase feels absolutely mandatory, then acknowledge that you will need to either work extra hours, such as applying your web design courses to freelance on the side, or as a last resort reducing another area in your budget to make up for the lack of funds.

Use Discounts

Many grocery stores, retailers and public transportation offer student discounts. Make it a habit of keeping your student card with you and always ask about student discounts no matter where you are. Even if the discount isn’t advertised, it never hurts to ask. Also, doing something as simple as signing up for a rewards card could save you money in the long run. Take the time to shop around for the best deals.

Get your finances mastered in college and once you graduate and are earning a steady income you’ll be better equipped to tackle student loans and save for major investments. Once you get used to keeping a budget, with practice it will become second nature.

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