Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tips and Resources for Your College Budget

A few pieces of advice for budgeting for your classes.

The first taste of freedom at college may lead to reckless spending. I've been on both sides - eating only oatmeal and discount frozen meals on to splurging on electronics. Trust me, it's better to stay in the middle.

Read more for some tips and link resources on how to stay in your college budget.

  • Biggest piece of advice: Do not spend your scholarship money all at once!

Don't do it! While seeing a large lump sum at the beginning of term is a temptation, you will need the money later. Not only will textbooks likely eat up a large portion of your money, but you will have to buy things throughout the year. Your splurge at the start of the semester won't be as enjoyable when you're scrimping the rest of the time.

  • Buy textbooks cheap

Almost never buy from the campus book store. Likely they are amazingly overpriced. Either rent your books or order online. While it means you may have to order ahead of time, it will save you hundreds of dollars. That is not an exaggeration.

If you have a reliable floor mate, ask to share a textbook. You can split the cost and maybe even gain a study friend. Make sure that you have access to the book tho!

There's also the library. If a book is only used for a week in class, check it out from the library early in the semester. Everyone will be trying to get a copy of the book the week of. If you beat them to it, you may get to keep your copy. If not, either copy the pages or do the reading early.

More so: sell your books back!

  • Keep track of what's coming in and out

This is really easy to do with online banking nowadays. Look at a month's worth of purchases and figure out where your money is going.

If you're spending a ton eating out when your parents are paying for a meal plan, you know where you can cut back.

  • Make a budget
Based on what you're spending and what you can afford to spend, adjust your habits. Write down how much you can spend each month. Keep to that price point.