Heading off to college is one of the most exciting times of your life. The world is at your feet, and you will meet some great people who could become lifelong friends and attend some awesome parties in between those heavy bouts of studying. However, this is also the time to take on some adult responsibilities, and this includes managing your finances. The idea of having to plan a budget may be the last thing on your mind, but it will benefit you in the long-term. So whether you are paying your own way through college, utilising the bank of mum and dad, or using financial aid, here is some helpful advice.
Know your spending
Consider the money you have to spend and work out how much of it is needed for essential items such as textbooks, accommodation and computer equipment. Remember that you do not always have to buy things brand new. Sites such as Amazon enable you to buy books and laptops at discounted prices.
After working out the essentials, you will know how much is left over for those other important college experiences, such as hanging with friends, partying and dressing to impress.
Having a smartphone or a tablet is a near necessity these days, and thankfully they have all kinds of apps for people like you. Check out Mint, one of the many money management apps available. The app will help you to manage your expenses on the go, create a budget, pay bills and set reminders for when payments need to be made.
If you do run into financial difficulty, taking out a student loan can be an attractive option. However, you are going to need to pay it back when leaving college. If you do take out a loan, know how much you need. It should be for the necessary things, such as food and living expenses, rather than funding your freshman lifestyle.
While a student loan should probably be the last option you use to help with financial struggle, the government has made things a little easier for the long term. They have introduced student loan forgiveness for nurses, teachers and anybody working in the public sector. Providing you keep up your monthly payments after leaving college, the loan will be written off after ten years.
The great thing about being a student is the number of discounts you are entitled to. By flashing your student id, you will be able to save money when buying clothes, purchasing new technology, going to music concerts and using public transport.
Get a job
Getting a job is a great way to earn you some extra cash and is a safer option than taking out a loan or a credit card. For advice, speak to your college careers department, or head into town and sell yourself to local employers. There are many jobs available for students, including nannying, working at a local grocery store or delivering pizzas. The extra money will be useful and you will get valuable work experience too.