As students, it can feel overwhelming to juggle both education and finances but it could not be more vital. With the disruption of the 2020 school year, many students are taking summer courses, and must, therefore, adjust their budgets and financial strategies.
And once you leave the post-secondary world, you’ll need a solid working knowledge of how to manage your finances. Basic financial management is an imperative skill that will allow you to move through the workforce without the added burdens that come with mismanaging your money.
So, to prepare you for the summer, the school year to come, and whatever comes next, let’s take a look at the basics and the easiest cost-cutting solutions to get the most out of your money. This will help you get through your studies and prepare you for the future.
Know the Basics of Budgeting
It’s important to know the basics of financial planning before diving into cost-cutting techniques. Creating a budget calendar is an easy way to start tracking any income and expenses. If you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, you can begin to brainstorm where you can trim costs.
Knowing the difference between your fixed and variable expenses is crucial to keeping your finances stable. Your fixed expenses will consist of necessities including rent, utilities, food, and school supplies. Your variables are non-essentials like movies you rent of YouTube, takeout, and other entertainment.
Once you’ve created your budget it’s important to stick to it, as this will help you spend less every day throughout the school year. Your expenses may change throughout the year, so checking in with yourself consistently will ensure you always have enough money to get you through school. Then you can begin to explore the areas where you can save money.
Make Smart Meal Decisions
Convenience is often a factor when it comes to purchasing on-campus meals or ordering in. Juggling classes, work, and social activities can often resort to more money spent on ready-made meals, which have a higher price point and quick shelf-life. It’s important to look at cooking as an investment.
You can save money in the long run by planning out your meals, and preparing them ahead of time to keep you on track for the week ahead. There are many student-friendly recipes that offer delicious and cost-effective alternatives to take out or delivery.
Don’t Splurge on Textbooks
Textbooks can be one of the more costly aspects of post-secondary education. Most programs have required readings and students are required to purchase at least one textbook for each class. Most campuses house a used book store where students can find their required texts for a fraction of what they would pay for new copies.
There are also options available online for discount readings, and your school may even have social media pages dedicated to former students looking to sell their books. When you complete each class, you can then look at selling your books for some extra cash.
Lookout for Free Money
Universities and governments will often provide various grants and bursaries for students. Search for scholarships in your field, or visit your campus student center to find out if you qualify. When you’re off-campus, look out for student discounts at grocery stores, retail locations, and restaurants. That way if you do decide to splurge, you’re still saving money.
Student life can be a balancing act, and worrying about finances will provide added stress. Using simple budget tricks and being conscious of your spending are easy ways to make it through your post-secondary experience remaining financially savvy all the way.