Keep track of your money and learn some easy financial tips.
Today, we're going to focus on one of the most important parts of college, and life: your finances. College costs a TON of money: tuition, of course, but also things like getting a drink at the bar or purchasing whatever school supplies you need. And if you don't know how to budget and keep track of your money, things can get out of hand pretty quickly.
But that's why we're going to talk all about that today!
START WITH THE BASICS
Before we get into specifics for tracking and saving money, let's go over some of the basics.
Actually make a budget. The trick here is to figure out how much you spend in a typical month so you can then figure out how much you have to save.
And you really should be saving money. Ideally, you want to build up your savings so that you have enough to cover six months' worth of expenses in the case of any emergencies.
Pay off your credit cards! If you don't pay the full balance every month on your bills, it's a recipe for carrying a larger and larger balance that will lead to higher and higher interest payments.
Decide what is most important to spend your money on. Do you want to use your cash on fun experiences, like trips with friends, or on material goods, like new clothes? You probably won't have the money to do both, so it's good to choose what's most important to you.
DOWNLOAD SOME FINANCE APPS
There are a ton of great apps out there to help with your finances. Here are a few of the best.
OnTrees is a personal finance app that helps track what you're spending your money on and gives you a breakdown, in terms of percentages, of the different categories you are spending your money on.
If you or your friends are having a hard time keeping track of who owes what, use Splitwise to collect bills so no shared expenses get lost.
This post will help you out with even more organizational advice if your room could still use some help after all of this!
SAVE YOUR CASH
Now that you'll be keeping track of your spending more vigilantly, let's make sure you're not spending too much in the first place.
If possible, borrow required textbooks from the school or public library so you don't have to pay those crazy prices at the bookstore. You can also try renting your books through a site like BookRenter.
Study inside Starbucks itself to take advantage of cheap or free refills on certain drinks.
Carry your student ID everywhere. Many places offer student discounts!
Consider an on-campus job if you don't have one — especially at an eatery, since you might be able to get free food out of the deal.