As one enters college life or is enrolled in a post-graduate degree, managing one’s finances is one of the core responsibilities which need to be looked after. You need to pre-plan for the changes and the twists and turns that are going to take place in your life and be prepared for everything that life throws at you. Your decisions will be strengthened by a sound financial plan and you will be able to pursue and further both your academic and career goals. Walking on a clear career path is also a highly likely way of raising up money to fund your academic goals.
#1 Be proactive with your budgeting and monitor your spending
Managing your finances is in your own hands and you should get into the habit of keeping a regular check on your cash inflows and outflows in your bank. If you make it a weekly habit from the start of the semester, it will be easier for you to deal with it in small manageable portions rather than debt piling up, which might become unavoidable then. Some practical steps which you could take include:
- Lead your finances and don’t be overwhelmed by them by chalking out a weekly budget and reviewing it regularly. The course fees is not the only one-time major expenditure, other expenses follow as you proceed through the semester, so you need to keep all of them in consideration.
- Only purchase things that you actually need and refrain from impulsive and emotional buying.
- Your credit score can help make or break your credibility in the market, so make sure you read about credit scores and understand how they work.
#2 Get the most value for your money
Budgeting your money is not about just quantitatively managing it, but also using it wisely and in the right places. Getting the most value out of the money you own means taking benefit of all the possible sources of income and understanding money. Look for options that will give you value for money, be it food, book or stationary shopping, accommodation, transport or any of your daily expenses. Do not follow the herd and do what everyone is doing, just because it seems the most palpable and attractive option. See your situation and act as per your convenience.
- Student discounts are abundant to facilitate them with the growing financial burden of gaining quality education.
- Avail economical mobile packages for networking.
- Shop second hand for books and essential things.
- Divide costs within your room-mates and colleagues and make things easy for each other.
- Family insurance can cover for your essential belongings.
- Public transport can be replaced with a walk or cycling to college.
#3 Work part-time so you know the value of money
The rising inflation and the prevailing economic conditions do not allow students of recent times to spend frivolously on luxury shopping, late night partying or takeaways. The rising cost of living has pushed students to the verge of having to pay for their own expenses by working part-time or full-time if their will power and situation allows them to. Around two-thirds of students had to take the support of part-time job to fund their studies by a survey conducted by Endsleigh (2012) and one in seven students work full time while they are pursuing their academic goals.
Additional income is now spent on everyday necessities like housing options, food and utility bills earned by more than half of the students who work part-time. While being employed and juggling between your studies, your life also takes an interesting turn.
- Your hard-earned money means the world to you and you wouldn’t spend it uneconomically, trust me. In a nutshell students would prefer saving up for the important items like text books and rent.
- You wouldn’t indulge in impulsive shopping and spend just for the sake of entertaining yourself because you will have less idle time while managing both studies and work.
- Valuing your money along with developing the necessary skill set and forming stable professional relationships will help you in the long run. You will be more proficient as a student as you will have hand-on job experience.
#4 Looking for extra sources of income
Sometimes the cash inflow from your full-time or part-time job may not suffice to cover up all the expenses that seem to be lingering on your head. For this purpose you may need to find an alternative to cater to your ever-increasing expenses by working out a source of extra money or having a backup plan that will help you save up for a rainy day. Unavoidable costs that get incurred,unexpected weeks without work and when bad luck befalls you can be some of the reasons you should consider working extra during your semester breaks, keep a balance between work and study plans. You could even consider freelancing or looking for viable options to work from home.
Everybody needs to be financially responsible and manage their expenses before your financial situation deteriorates to a level where it becomes hard to pull yourself out from. Shouldering your academic responsibilities and managing your expenses at the same time is a commendable feat. Train and condition your mind to work from a saving perspective and you will see for yourself how effortlessly everything is looked after for.