Freshman year for most students is the first time they are living alone. As fun as that sounds, there are several financial challenges you’d face while living on or off-campus.
As you might’ve already noticed, it’s tough to manage your money in college.
In this article, we’ll discuss 5 ways to manage your money as a freshman.
1. Design a Budget
Having a budget to set up financial goals as a freshman is important. Without a budget, the incoming and outgoing fundings won’t have a trace and you might end up spending more than you earn or get.
It might get overwhelming when trying to set up a budget, but you can do it pretty well by following a specific set of rules without omitting fun.
Initially, you need to have an idea of your monthly spending. It won’t be possible for you to design a budget without having any track of your expenditures. When you’ve listed your expenses, like books, fuel, food, haircuts, insurance, and everything else, calculate how much you earn. Only then you can understand the scenario and design an effective budget.
2. Keep Track of Your Expenses
Knowing where you spend your money is not enough. Despite knowing what our weakness is, we spend a lot on futile things that don’t hold any value to us. Our emotions get the best of us.
You need to track your expenses throughout to know if you’ve exceeded your budget.
But worry not, keeping track of expenses is not complex. You just need an app on your phone to enlist every expense – be it cash or online – thoroughly. Don’t have a phone? Keep your books on paper. Or use Excel.
Track your spending by date. Don’t wait a week to note down the $10 expense on the new HDMI cable.
Keep track of categories. So that you know when you’ve spent your monthly budget on a specific category and can’t spend more on that. Take food as an example, if you keep dining out, you’d soon be forced to live the rest of the month on a tight budget.
3. Save Money on Foods
Saving money on food doesn’t mean starving and not eating well. You can do both just by being careful. Let’s make a checklist that you can refer to when setting up the food budget.
- Skip Packaged Salad, make your own.
- Get a refrigerator. Don’t waste good food.
- Cook yourself, at least once a day.
- Go for store brands that offer similar quality and cheaper prices.
- Avoid take-outs and dine-outs whenever possible. Don’t discard them from your list though.
- Make alcohol a weekly affair. Avoid cheap ones. Spending $15 thrice a week is costlier than spending $30 weekly.
- Get a roommate to share costs. That way you can buy in bulk to save some more.
- Eggs are cheap and easy to cook. Incorporate eggs into your daily diet to keep the costs in limit.
- Seasonal vegetables are cheaper. Eat more of them.
- When eating out, skip drinks. Typically the drinks are more expensive in restaurants than they should be.
- Go to buffets. Although some despise buffets, they are very good for freshmen nonetheless.
- Use delivery apps to get discounts on foods. But don’t make it a habit while in college. Food delivery apps are evil.
As we’ve covered almost anything on food. Most of it may seem quite obvious. Because they are.
But, we keep forgetting the obvious things. Like investing from college days.
To get some free time with your friends for an occasional dine-out, you can buy assignments online uk to easily submit your assignments in record time without even holding a pencil.
4. Start Investing
College is one of the most financially difficult times for any individual. As it’s the first time we get the taste of independence, uncalculated spending on a tight budget makes us think very less about investing. But here are some ways that you can start investing with anything that you have.
A. Savings Account:
Savings accounts don’t give out very high returns on investments but are sure shot ways to make your money work for you by offering interest on the money that you keep with the bank.
While savings accounts typically let you deposit or withdraw any amount of money, there exists a minimum limit that the bank looks at as an all-time investment.
Savings accounts are generally safer than, say, the stock market.
B. Index Funds:
When you invest with a broker in index funds. They invest your money in stock markets all over the world with thousands of others like you. As they have analytical tools that are beyond your reach, they are considerably safer options than investing in stock markets directly.
C. Recurring Deposit:
Spend a little every month for a fixed amount of time to pay off your debt. Recurring deposits are an add-on to your savings account and don’t need any additional documents to start with.
Talk to your bank about the interest rates and periods. Start one from next month.
5. Get a Part-time Job
You have a vast range of options for part-time work as a freshman. From being an animal caretaker to being a babysitter, the alternatives are huge. But you can still earn online as a student without ever needing to go out.
Chegg is one such platform. Your academics and education would work for you on Chegg. Students post assignments and homework on Chegg for you to solve and in return they pay you through the platform.
You can also start a website to upload your notes and start a service that lets students purchase your notes.
Youtube channels are another alternative that might be a little tough for you if you are as shy as me and just hate to talk over a mic and camera.