Tips to Maximizing Your College Budget
To many college students, 'budget' is a four letter word. Because of the expenses associated with attending college many students are forced to live on a tight college budget. With some simple money saving tips you can stretch that tight student budget further than you think which will give you the freedom to be able to fully experience college life.
College fun cost money. Unfortunately for many, they miss out on the 'fun' because they have a tight college budget. There are simple steps students can take to avoid college debt while having a good time at school.
If you follow a simple student budget, you will have more money available to afford the activities that make college an experience you'll always remember. What's more, you will avoid college debt which means a brighter and richer future for you, your family, and your friends. That is how you will reach your financial goals and enjoy the things in life that make you really like doing.
Below are money saving tips that will make your student budget go further.
1. List what you want - This is a fun exercise that will help you spend money on the things you truly want. Take a pad of paper and write down everything you want. The trip to Europe, surfing lessons, new clothes, your first condo, whatever you want write it down. Now that you know what you want list them in priority. What is it you want the most; put that at the top of the list and work your way down.
With this list you maximize your college budget and are able to purchase the items you want the most. Seeing the items you want to work toward can provide strong motivation for you to earn the money necessary to buy them. Knowing what it is that you want the most and what will make you happiest is a key component for a developing college student budget that allows you to get the items you want while not overextending yourself.
2. Daily Splurges Those small everyday purchases that on a college budget plan add up more than you may realize. A four-dollar coffee, during the week, adds up to over $1200 a year of needless spending. That's a 4 star trip to Mexico with your friends for 5 days. What would you rather buy with the $1200?
3. Shopping for entertainment - It can be fun to window shop, but only if you don't lose control every time you spot a "bargain." If you have the will power to keep your student budget, definitely go window shopping and enjoy yourself.
4. The good deal shopper - If you have a closet full of clothes with sales tags still attached, your discount shopping may cause you to get into college debt. Avoid debt by purchasing items that you truly need and will use. If you're experiencing buyers regret after a purchase, don't be afraid to return those items.
5. Compare prices - If you follow the steps above you will avoid buying on impulse and stick to your student budget. This gives you the luxury of being able to compare prices of a particular item so you can take advantage of discount stores and the Internet for tracking down the best price.
6. After-season Purchases - Purchase your beach gear in the winter and your winter gear during summer. This will stretch your college savings longer and it could save you at least 30% to 80% off what you would pay just a few months later.
7. Be creative - A little creativity goes a long way, especially when you're tight on funds. Instead of paying $120 for designer jeans, spend $35 for discount jeans pay a tailor $12 to add stitching that mimics designer jeans. You'll look even better in jeans that have cash in your pocket.
8. A Money Diary - Most of us have cash that vanishes each monthto those impulse stops for a double mocha or a drive through snack. To understand how you spend your money, write down everything you spend money on: every coffee, every burger, every bus or taxi fare. Keeping a money diary will help you keep on your college student budget.
The purpose of these money saving tip for college students is to make you aware of how you spend your money, and it is the first step in developing a budget. Doing this for a few weeks you will notice where your money goes and, if your like most, you'll end up spending less. After 30 days of keeping a diary, ask yourself: what have you learned? Are there areas where you feel you spend too much?
9. Opportunity Cost - With every purchase you make there is a direct cost (cash) and an opportunity cost. The opportunity cost is the cost of something in terms of an opportunity forgone. In other words, what else you could do with the same amount of money. What is the opportunity cost of spending $470 for an iPhone? It may be very high if it means you will not have the $470 for something that is more important to you.
To maintain your college budget, this is a good exercise to repeat from time to time as your income and circumstances change. Five years from now your spending habits will be a lot different than they are today.
For most on a college budget there is a liming on how much we can spend. Look at your student budget objectively and get real about your money. Practice these basic college mnoey saving tips and you will be able to afford the lifestyle you want sooner than you think.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vince Shorb, young America's success coach and author of 'Financially Free by 30' shows young adults how a simple college savings plan can give them the money necessary to invest and retire young. More information about the first multi-media program designed to help young people live a dream lifestyle and a free 5 step video course can be found at http://www.FreeBy30.com .