Budgeting in College

Being a college student, you are always looking for ways to save money. Whether it’s having extra cash for the weekend or enough to pay for your next grocery trip, these are 11 fun and easy ways to budget in college:

  1. Make a monthly organized plan. The first step is to budget your necessary expenses such as rent, utilities, tuition/loans, and groceries. Always budget your necessary expenses higher than expected, just in case your utilities or payments vary from month-to-month. You can then budget your unnecessary expenses such as social life, entertainment, and splurges. Even though these are budgeted, you want to be careful when it comes impulse purchases and unnecessary expenses. It’s always nice to treat yourself every once in a while, but too many “fun purchases” can leave you empty handed in case you need the money for an emergency.
  2. Plan ahead for your future. If you’re already saving money for your future in your monthly budgeting you are already a step ahead. Even leaving yourself $10 a month to save over time can add up and help you be in the green when you graduate. If you have any money at the end of the month you didn’t use make sure to transfer that money into your savings or emergency fund. You can also do other things to help plan for your future such as paying off your credit cards to help you to build good credit and paying off interest on your loans. It can help for when you’re stressing to find a post graduate job while paying your loans at the same time.
  3. Use your resources. College is a great time to take advantage of the word FREE or discounts. Do simple things such as using public transportation (it’s paid for in your tuition!), and go to club meetings because it usually means a free t-shirt or pizza. You can also attend campus events, concerts, or museums because they are usually free or tickets are discounted for students. Don’t forget your I-card to get discounts at local stores or restaurants!
  4. Shop around. Finding the best deals on apartments, groceries, and textbooks will help you to save the most money. Though you might not be living at the best apartment on campus or buying name brand groceries they are great alternatives to help save you money and are just as good. Check local grocery ads from different stores, look at different leasing agents’ apartment websites, and use online sources such as Chegg or Amazon instead of buying textbooks on campus.
  5. Use discount apps and websites. Adding the Hooked app is a great way to find deals on food on campus. You can also use websites/apps such as EatCu and GrubHub. Checkout 51 is a great option to get money back on groceries.
  6. Look at your schedule. Make sure that you are taking the necessary classes you need to graduate on time, or even early! Graduating early can save you money on tuition, food, and rent if you are able to move back home and/or start your career early.
  7. Take advantage of the Career Center. It is free to get advice on your resume and cover letter, which can help you to land your dream job. Also, attending career fairs or seminars, mock interviews, and getting free headshots can help you to plan academically for your future career.
  8. Save money with your friends. Living in an apartment on campus with other people can be much cheaper than living by yourself. You can even look for a place closer to your favorite study spot or coffee shop! Also living with roommates gives you the option to split bills such as groceries, water, electric, internet, and cable.
  9. Find a campus job. Having extra money makes budgeting much easier. Also there can be added benefits depending on the company and the position. For example, working at a local coffee shop can provide you with a paycheck, free coffee, and even teamwork experience to put on your resume.
  10. Use Facebook Groups. If you don’t have enough time for a part time job you can also take advantage of campus resources such as selling items or clothes you don’t need on Facebook pages, such as Free and For Sale or Champaign Closet Exchange. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash or find discounted items you might need.
  11. Participate in campus experiments and studies. You can sign up for them on the paid psych studies website and earn cash or Amazon gift cards.

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