here are no two ways about it, college is expensive. Regardless of who is footing the bill for your tuition, it is likely that as a college student you are experiencing financial responsibilities that are new to you. Before you began your college career you might have had to earn money or save allowance to be able to afford certain items, but that was when all your money had to be allocated towards was the fun extras. Once you move forward in your undergrad experience and your money must cover the basics, you might find it challenging to be able to afford the extras. However, since being tight on cash is synonymous with college students there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can take advantage of to find ways to cover your responsibilities but still have cash for hobbies.
Get Your Basics in Order
uition is not only the most important part of your collegiate budget, but also the biggest. Figuring out how you will afford costly tuition must happen before you even begin the application process. Depending on your school of choice, and if you decide to be a commuter student or one that lives on, or near campus, you will potentially be responsible for thousands of dollars’ worth of bills each year.
Getting your basic, and most important budgetary items in order is common practice for many college bound students, so the process has become simplified as it becomes more mainstream. There are opportunities for federal student loans, scholarships, and grants. You also have the option to take out a student loan from a private lender to pay for college. Once you have these ducks in a row, you can focus on the financial responsibilities that exist beyond tuition. Many lenders or online companies offer free student loan debt calculators so that you can have a general idea of what repayment will look like. This is something to take advantage of because although the figures may not be to the penny exact, they are a great baseline for your expectations and can help you create the rest of your budget.
College students are famous for being able to joyfully live on truly little means. There is an entire social culture pun based around ten cent ramen noodles being breakfast, lunch, and dinner for students. Figuring out how to live lean is going to help you to be able to have cash on hand when the opportunity for fun presents itself.
School supplies have developed far beyond traditional No. 2 pencils and can eat up your money in one big swoop. Challenge yourself to seek creative ways to avoid paying full price on big ticket items. Student discounts, sale codes, and gently used secondhand items are all great examples of ways to have the technology you need but at a price you can stomach.
College towns often are full of stores and restaurants that all cater to the slim budget of the student body. It is not uncommon to be privy to exceptional savings opportunities simply by showing your student ID. Making the conscious choice, and occasional sacrifice, by electing to frequent these establishments simply because they are budget-friendly can help you learn how to live within your means which is a great tool to have regarding your long-term financial health.
Find Creative Streams of Income
Many students consider their education to be their full-time job, and with the heavy demands that college places on your time and your mental health, it is not uncommon to not work during this time. However, the downside of not working, means no cash coming in. This can be an internal conflict for students who understand the importance of placing their studies first, but also have hobbies and desires that require spending money.
Enter, the side hustle. Side hustles do not have to be on the side of your job, as they are commonly depicted. A side hustle can reside on the side of whatever is the main item on your plate at your current life stage. During college, consider opportunities like meal delivery services, ride share companies, and blogging to provide you with the flexible time requirements that you need, and the cash that you want. Some students have also found ways to turn their hobbies into cash thanks to online marketplaces for handcrafted goods.
hese are all examples of jobs that come with the opportunity to work when you can. You do not have a clock to punch, a boss to report to, or a schedule requirement, all of which can possibly conflict with your studies. Working during school breaks is another way to earn spending money without being pulled away from your courses. Summer, holiday, and spring breaks are all times where your attention does not need to be placed on your classes and if you hustle hard, you have the potential to earn enough cash to get you through the following semesters.