College educations are valuable, but they’re also expensive to attain. According to researchers, the average college student graduates with approximately $29,000 in debt. Which means that taking the initiative to be financially responsible isn’t a bad idea if it means that it will ultimately save you money later on.
Here are 8 basic tips to help you manage your finances a little smarter and start paving the road to financial freedom.
- Stick to a budget
Making a budget is the first step to financial responsibility. It may seem like a daunting task but you’ll be thankful you took the initiative to make one. Once you’ve outlined your monthly income and expenses it’s important that you track your spending to ensure you are staying within your budget. Try downloading your bank’s mobile app to help manage your finances.
- Take advantage of student discounts
It’s normal for local businesses near college campuses to offer student discounts so be sure to reap the benefits with your campus ID. You can easily score discounts at local restaurants or a percentage off of a new laptop, all you have to do is ask!
- Use coupons
Rack up the savings by using coupons. Clipping coupons has become a trend again and it’s an easy way to save money. If you don’t have time to sit and clip physical coupons, many major retailers have made saving money easier by turning to mobile apps that are available at your fingertips. All you have to do is download the apps, make an account, and start clipping! Discounts are applied at the register once you’ve used
- Be careful with credit
Don’t make the mistake of signing up for a credit card just because you received something in the mail suggesting that you should. Signing up for credit cards doesn’t translate to free money, but rather high interest rates and annual fees. If you do open a credit card, be sure to make payments on time and spend responsibly. Not keeping track of your spending or not making payments on time can hurt your credit score and easily rack up debt that will be hard to get rid of.
- Be resourceful
A lot of new students make the mistake of buying brand new textbooks from the school bookstore. That’s a good way to lose money fast. Make the school bookstore your last stop shop when buying books. Turn to online retailers to purchase books where you have the option to purchase them new, used, or even rent them for a much more affordable rate. Online retailers such as Ebay.com, Amazon.com, and Chegg.com can save you hundreds of dollars.
- Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself may not seem very beneficial at the beginning, but gaining industry experience through volunteer opportunities or internships will help you gain valuable skills through real-world experiences that will pay off in the long run. Employers are expecting more from candidates, so the experience and skills you build now will be valuable down the road.
- Start saving
You’ll thank yourself later if you start putting aside a few dollars here and there into a savings account. If you have a job, consider setting up an automatic transfer to your savings account each pay period. It’s an easy way to ensure that you’re prioritizing your savings and a good start to developing good habits.
- Set limits
Creating a budget and saving are just two parts of financial responsibility. It’s equally as important to set limits when it comes to spending. Set a daily spending limit and when you’re tempted to exceed that limit consider whether or not you really need the product or service you intend to spend it on. Could you go without it? Will the value of the product decrease in the coming months when you could purchase it at a cheaper rate? These are things to consider that will help you make smarter decisions when managing your money.
These things are a lot easier said than done, and working while going to school can be daunting. Campus Commandos understands the struggles you face as a student and that’s why we’ve created an app that lets you accept tasks and make money on your schedule. Download our Go Commando App from the App Store or Google Play to get started. We’ll send notifications directly to your phone when new tasks are posted and if you have some extra time, simply accept the task, complete it, and get paid. Making money has never been easier!