How to Manage the Cost of a University Life
With students facing huge increases in tuition fees, it makes sense to focus on how you’re going to manage your finances at university at an early stage. Having some strategies in place could help to keep your overall debt to a minimum and leave you free to enjoy the experience. Tackling the issue of trying to avoid too much debt could see you leaving the university and joining the workforce with fewer financial hangovers.
Managing Your Finances at College University
Some students find during college that their money won’t stretch and they either don’t have enough for food or the type of social life they would like to have. If this is the case, a part-time job would be your best option. You might find something that you enjoy doing, pays you enough to have some social activities, and still allows you enough time to focus on your studies.
Tips for Effective Money Management at a University
A simple financial management plan might sound like a major strategy, but realistically it makes sense to write down your allowances and expenses instead of relying on conjuring up figures off the top of your head. Using a dedicated notebook or creating an excel workbook doc to record what you are spending, and what allowances you have set aside for various things, should help you keep track of your money and keep you out of trouble. The following suggestions are some of the more important areas to focus on when making your financial plan.
1. Food and shelter are your priority.
If you’re living off campus, you will need to make an allowance for expenses such as utilities if these are not part of your rental package. It’s also advisable to allow between $50 and $60 per week for food. Shop carefully and focus on keeping waste to a minimum.
2. Make sure you have the right insurance.
If you lose your laptop, you may end up regretting that you didn’t pay that minimum amount every month to cover your valuables. The cost of replacing them without insurance will hit you hard. Shop around for suitable insurance to cover personal items like your laptop, desktop and cell phone. There are some great deals for students.
3. Miscellaneous, but necessary, items.
Haircuts, laundry costs and expenses such as toiletries, personal care and cleaning products can soon put a dent in any spare cash you might have.
Try to take advantage of any two-for-one offers, reduced price shampoos and shower gels or even consider shopping at a dollar store for your toiletries to get you through. Remember to keep track of the money you’ve saved on these items to put towards other expenses or one-off necessities.
Putting money aside for miscellaneous items like haircuts is a great idea, but what about those little emergencies that spring up from time to time? A trip to the dentist? Medication costs? Or, there may be times when an unforeseen birthday celebration could cause you financial embarrassment.
On occasion, you might just want to take an impromptu trip home. All of these things need to be budgeted for along with everything else. A good rule of thumb is to set aside about $10 – $15 per week for your emergency fund, and hopefully you won’t need to break into it too often.
5. Transportation costs.
Transportation costs can add up quick – and who’s got money to run a car when they’re at school? Buying a reliable bicycle is a wise investment during your university years. As well as saving you a lot of money on public transportation. It will also help you to get some regular exercise and keep you fit throughout your studies.
Hard Work, but Have Fun!
Your university days will most likely be the happiest you experience, but only if you don’t allow yourself to get into deep water where your finances are concerned. Learning how to manage money early in life is a good life lesson, and one that will become a good habit in your adult years. Nobody wants to be saddled with unnecessary debt, so keep an eye on your pennies, and the dollars will soon mount up.
About The Author:
Amy Harris is a writer for FinancialTraining.co.uk which helps British and international students find the right financial courses in London and the UK. Amy is an American expat herself, and enjoys helping people with their careers and financial planning.