The life of a college student differs mostly from where you’re living. If you live in a small town or province, you would usually go to another city or country to attend to universities. You would then live in a dorm during school days and visit home during long holidays or vacations. But if you’re already living in big cities, the move isn’t necessary. You can live in your parents’ home and still attend school. But regardless of the set-up, you’re going to have once you enter college, one thing is certain – you’re expected to budget the allowance given to you by your parents. Depending if your allowance should last for a week or month, you should make sure that you’re able to live college on your own without compromising anything. Aside from proper budgeting, knowing several money mistakes can also help you manage your allowance better:
1.) Overusing a credit card: Your parents might be generous enough to give you a credit card, but that doesn’t mean that you should use it whenever you have the chance. Don’t think that paying with a credit card is painless because there are consequences behind. Using your credit card to buy small purchases like groceries and school supplies can lead to high-interest payments. If you can’t pay these within the given period, you’ll be covered in debts. And because you don’t have any job yet, recovering from these debts might become a long-term commitment.
2.) Reaching for an overpriced college: Status quo would tell that students opt to attend prestigious universities because they believe it can help with their career opportunities, social life, and status symbol. All of these might be true to some extent but choosing to study at an expensive university can have long-term setbacks. For one, your family might end up in debts just to send you to school. Or your other expenses for college (you’ll have a lesser allowance, not paying for extracurricular activities) might be compromised. It’s always better if you attend a school with a price you can afford and do your best to excel. Where you studied will only be secondary once employers get to see how focused you are as a student.
3.) Not taking time to look for scholarships: Most people think that scholarships are only for straight A’s students. You need to be smart just to get a scholarship. This is a misconception. There are a lot of scholarships offered by different universities that would require other skill sets. Some scholarships are given to students who are exemplary in their organizations or show leadership. Some for their noteworthy contribution to the school or achievements they made in the past. Inquired about different scholarships your university might offer. You can save a lot of money once you’re granted a scholarship!
4.) Skipping classes: While skipping classes might be the easy solution to a demanding schedule and hangovers from a party the night before, it actually costs you a lot of money. You enrolled in this class with a fee. So when you’re skipping classes, you’re throwing away the money you’ve paid. Additionally, skipping classes can lead to failing grades which will require you to retake the class. And retaking a class isn’t free – it comes with a price.
5.) Missing out on free stuff: Studying in big universities doesn’t only mean attending classes; there are other amenities which you can use free. If you have a gym in school, use that rather than paying for a monthly gym membership outside. If you want to see a movie to relax, ask around from club members in your school as they might have movie nights. Anything your school offers can help you save money so make sure that you know what these are. Plus, everything you can use in your school is much convenient than actually going out.
6.) Going out because your friends asked you to: College is the time to socialize. You’ll meet a lot of people, so socializing can become easy. However, college is also the time where you’ll have friends who are either too wealthy or irresponsible in handling their money. Hanging out with these people too often can hurt your pocket. If these “friends” love to spend time in a five-star restaurant or expensive spa, for sure, they’ll tag you along with them. Learn to say “no” to these requests and look for other means to spend your time. You can try your best to avoid them or work somewhere so you can earn.
7.) Buying everything at the campus bookstore: The smell and feel of new books can be enticing but buying these isn’t always the best choice. The markup price once these are sold in the campus bookstore only makes things worse. Try scouting from your friends who are ahead in college if they have books which you can borrow. You can also try online platforms such as Amazon and eBay to look for your books and other supplies at a lower price. You can even rent books if possible.
8.) Spending all of your money: The allowance your parents gave you doesn’t have to be spent down to the last penny. If you’re able to buy all of your needs and still has money left, the better. Everything that you’ve saved during this time can help you achieve your goals after college. Traveling, buying another gadget or renovating your room? Yes, your college savings can make those goals a reality.
9.) Confusing what you want and need: Wants and needs are different but are mostly misunderstood by college students. Buying your daily dose of caffeine from Starbucks isn’t a need, it’s a want. Because you have a limited amount of money to spend, you should look for cheaper ways to get something or cross off buying any of your wants. If you want to drink caffeine before going to school, make your coffee or buy tea bags in bulk. The second option is much cheaper but can still give you the same results as drinking from Starbucks.
10.) Not doing research when shopping: Picking out the first product you see on the grocery aisle might save you time, but this is actually a money mistake. Before buying anything, regardless if it’s from a physical store or online shopping, take time to compare prices from different suppliers. If you’re planning to buy tools for your workshop class, browse through different websites first. Only do business with a supplier who can offer you with the best price. As a student, being thrifty is a requirement and having options can help you do just that.
Avoid These, Not That
Money plays an important role when you step in college. It can make your entire college life miserable or fulfilling, depending on how you manage this resource. If you’re about to go to college soon, keep in mind the money mistakes you have to avoid. You’ll start with a clean slate so avoiding these can come off easier. But if you’re already in college and see yourself guilty in committing these money mistakes, don’t fret. You can still change your ways and improve over time. Just remember to be patient and determined with these changes!
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