9 smart personal finance tips for college student

9 smart personal finance tips for college student

6 minute read

While your first year in college can signify the start of your adult life, it's also packed with fresh experiences and potential pitfalls. Don't worry, this guide is here to help you tackle one of the most complex parts of your new voyage – handling your finances.
Personal Financial Advice for College Undergraduates: Tackling Big Expenditures. One way to attain financial stability is by intelligently managing your most significant costs. This approach might require you to make a few tough choices in the short-term to secure your long-term financial health.

1. Dodge the Student Loan Debt Trend

An astounding 70% of US college graduates end up with student loan debts. However, you can implement strategies to mitigate this. Firstly, ensure you have essential financial literacy and make smart financial decisions. By reading this informational piece you are already making strides in the right direction.
If you are still in the process of selecting a college, consider a cost-efficient institution or an establishment offering tuition-free courses. Before choosing a specific degree program, reach out to professionals working in your desired field (LinkedIn is an excellent platform for this). You may find out that high-cost education is not the only pathway to your dream job.

2. Keep Living Costs Low

Accommodation, whether you live in a dorm or lease an apartment, will be among your significant outgoings. If the circumstances allow, consider remaining at your parent's until you finish your studies and secure a full-time job. If this isn't an option, think about sharing kiving spaces with multiple roommates or choosing a cheaper suburb.

3. Consider Car Alternatives

The two critical resources that students consistently find in short supply are time and money. While a car is undoubtedly convenient, it exerts considerable financial strain.
Try using campus public transportation for a month and see if that can partially replace your car. Consider carpooling with fellow students, splitting gas costs, and perhaps even making a few extra friends in the process.

4. Make the Most of Your Student ID

Your student ID card carries more value than you may realize. It provides a plethora of discounts – from cinemas and eateries to traveling deals.
Curate a list of organizations that have partnerships with your college, and don't hesitate to inquire about discounts when making purchases from other businesses as well. Many establishments offer student discounts even without official university partnerships.

5. Avoid Buying New Textbooks

Despite textbooks prices skyrocketing by over 1,041% from early 1977 to mid-2015, students paid 20% less for them in the 2014-2015 academic year compared to 2007-2008. This is owing to avoiding new costly textbooks purchases.
Students resort to buying and renting second-hand textbooks from Amazon, TextbookRentals.com, or their peers. Some choose institutions that utilize free, open-source textbooks or offer all necessary information online, so no textbook purchases are required.

6. Cultivate Professional Connections

Forge relationships during your college days to pave the way for future financial opportunities. Socialize with classmates in your free time among studies. Eventually, they could be your colleagues for whom you will appreciate having access. Learn under the guidance of professors, building a closer rapport with them.
Network outside the college boundaries, attending industry seminars, or joining discussions on LinkedIn. Future workmates will respect a young student who is making extra endeavours to engage in the profession.

7. Economize Your Socials

Socialization isn't always about career advancement. It's essential to connect with people just for the sheer joy of it.
Rather than frequenting pubs, restaurants, or film screenings, consider alternatives. Watch a movie at home with friends, hit the beach over the pool, organize a picnic, or go out only for dessert after a homemade dinner. Remember to prioritise places offering student discounts.

8. Cash in on Your Talents

While saving is important, don't forget to explore ways to boost your income. You can monetize existing skills. If you're proficient with the guitar, for example, consider offering lessons or performing at parties.
If a skill is likely to advance your future career, prioritise its monetization. For instance, if you're studying computer science and already know how to code, opt for a coding job over a service-industry one.

9. Maintain a Budget

Tracking your income and expenses is critical, regardless of the strategies you use. Write down your financial ins and outs, scrutinize the numbers, and make necessary optimizations.
Personal finance might seem daunting at first, but don't worry. Allow time to learn the ropes and never hesitate to seek assistance when needed. With persistence, you'll become an adept money manager in no time.
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