5 Resources On Budgeting For College Students

budgeting for college students university budget

College is just around the corner for many new university students. Everyone has heard of the broke college kid and the stigma it carries, but there are easy ways to get around it. This way, you can live life to the fullest without breaking your bank.

Here are 5 tips for budgeting for college students and university attendees.

1. Track Your Spending

This one is going to be the most obvious but is going to be the most helpful. It is easy to continue to swipe a credit or debit card without really thinking about the fact that you are spending money. This is an easy way to have money start being burned away.

Open your banking apps or go to their website and start looking at what you are spending and what on.

You can look to do this daily or weekly or monthly. Either way, it is a necessary part of keeping money in your pocket and not going broke. This can then help you realize how much is going in and how much is going out.

The goal is to always have less going out then what is coming in. Not having enough to cover everything can lead to racking up credit card debt. Credit card debt is one of the most common and expensive debts because of their high-interest rates.

If you can point it directly, you can actually maximize the benefits of a credit card this way. For instance, you know exactly the range you are spending every month out of your debit card, you could start using that exact amount through a credit card. This way, you can rack up rewards points.

2. Cut Costs Where Necessary

After forming a budget and realizing what comes in and what goes out, it is time to cost unnecessary costs. This does not mean getting rid of the things you love though, but more around the idea keeping it reasonable.

What they don't tell you in all those budgeting articles is the unhappiness that comes from cutting too much. It can create a lack of social interaction and since people are prone to use shopping as a form of therapy, it is not healthy to outright eliminate these habits.

The key to budgeting is moderation. If you enjoy going out with friends, rather than going out and buying food for everyone, make sure you go out and just buy food for yourself.

Instead of buying a new video game or piece of clothing every week, make sure to extend to once a month or maybe biweekly. This can easily lead to an increase in money saved while still maintaining the happiness and gratification that comes with spending the money.

3. Shop Around for Supplies

Only going to one location to get supplies for school is one of the easiest ways to burn a hole in your pocket. The school book store has some of the biggest markups possible. Driving over to the nearest superstore can bring binder costs from $10 for 1, all the way to $5 for 2.

Books are notorious for costing an arm and leg when buying from the bookstore as well. But they do provide the ISBN for every book. Throwing it into your favorite search engine can lead you to every website that carries that book. They will usually also tell you whether you are able to only buy or rent and if it is new or used.

They usually also provide the benefit of coming in an eBook. This can be more convenient as you can have the book loaded on to your computer, phone, or tablet. This is easier to mark up and get rid of notes compared to traditional books.

Also, look into using coupon apps. They will usually provide coupon codes or physical printer coupons to use online or in-store.

4. Think About Future You

Not saving is one of the easiest ways to throw off the rest of your life. Most Americans do not even have $1000 put away in emergency funds. This can easily lead to debt or poor life decisions when emergencies happen.

The goal is to take the funds you are now saving and start saving them. Shop around for a high yield savings account that helps earn you interest monthly. This is a great way to start making your money work harder for you.

Once your emergency fund is filled, start looking into investing a portion of your income. The earlier you start investing, the harder your money works for you over the coming decades. This is extremely important as only 45% of Americans own stock.

Almost every college graduate will tell you that investing is the best way to grow your income and prepare for retirement. The goal is to invest in a diversified account and create stability. The future you will thank you for the financial freedom and flexibility.

For those also looking into protecting their future selves, be sure to check out our Frugal Finances and Couponing sections.

5. Look Into Budgeting Apps

Jumping around between bank accounts and bills can be annoying. Look into budgeting apps that can help move all your bills and savings and income into one app.

This way you can easily see when electricity is due when your automatic deposit to your savings account is coming, and how much you've already spent on food this month.

It can also help make a decision on more unexpected purchases. You can quickly open the app, decide if there is room for a shopping trip or food, and go about your day.

Finding the best budgeting apps for university students will depend on what platform you are on, as iOS and Android both offer a plethora of different apps.

Budgeting For College Students Doesn't Have to be Hard

Budgeting for college students always sounds like a painful task. But with these 5 budgeting tips for college students, you can find yourself or your child prepared for what the world is about to throw at them. And it will prepare these university students for the rest of their lives.

If you're looking to learn more about frugal spending and the best ways to save money, be sure to check out our other articles. If you know a soon to be college student or their parents, be sure to share this article with them so they are prepared.

New Frugal Finance Blog Posts & Articles