3 Budgeting Tips for College Students

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During the college years, getting a degree is obviously the main focus, and most find themselves in a tight money situation. Whether you are working with a modest contribution from your parents, proceeds from a loan, or living off the earnings of your summer savings, work-study job weekend or waitressing gig, chances are you do not have so much money that you can just spend it willy-nilly without any consequence. The types of expenses can vary depending on whether you live on-campus or off, but most students have at least some financial responsibilities to attend to. Here are some budgeting tips for the college set that will help you stay on track while still having the funds to have some fun.

Be Realistic

The first step in making a budget is approaching it from a realistic standpoint. Some people, for example, may set the bar really high on savings, telling themselves that they will severely limit their discretionary spending. Now, while it is prudent to not spend money carelessly and build a savings account, you do have to factor in these types of expenditures. You know you will have late night pizza binges, nights at the bar, etc….It is okay to spend money on these types of things; the important thing is to avoid reaching a point where spending on your leisure activities is causing you to pay credit cards late or come up short on rent for the month, causing much unwanted friction with roommates.

Importance of Meal Planning

If you are living off-campus and not relying on a campus meal plan, it can be all too easy to bust your budget with food purchases. You are a busy college student and cooking may be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day of classes and studying, but the amount of money you can save with some smart choices in this area can be astounding. I speak from experience on this one. You will need a concrete plan, or else you will continue on your path of expensive take-out and in between class snacks. Bust out a pen and paper and write out a list of meals you can make for the week and snacks you can purchase to fuel you throughout the day. Get to the grocery store and pick up everything you need for the week. Set aside some time on a Sunday afternoon to do some prep work, such as cutting the vegetables, making the pasta sauce, and cooking the rice. This way, during the week, you can pull together a meal in a few minutes. As an added bonus, you will probably start eating a lot better too!

Be Forgiving of Money Transgressions

You are a young, impulsive college student living in the now. Who wants to worry about boring things like budgets? Even with the best intentions, you may get off track sometimes. That is okay. It is important to be forgiving of your financial blunders and get back on track as soon as possible. Do not tell yourself you are incapable of managing your money responsibly—there is no such thing. It just takes a bit of effort and practice.

About the Author:Michael Der enjoys writing about ways for college students to manage their money better; if you are in need of some extra funds, you can sell your textbooks online for cash at http://www.mybookbuyer.com/.

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