Money Management: How To Avoid Being The “Broke College Student”

I didn’t really realize just how much college costs.  I know, what a naïve thing to say, right?  But in all seriousness I wasn’t expecting to have this significant amount of debt at the age of 20.

And some may be luckier than others and can afford to attend college, but I was not one in this select few. So, like a rational student that wants to go to college more than anything, I took out a loan.  Seems simple enough, but what you need to expect is plan ahead spread out the amount of money you can really spend.

  • Make a Spreadsheet

Now, I’m not a pro at Excel by any means.  There are so many columns and usually my eyes tend to glaze over at some point.  Get one or both of your parents involved and figure out what each expenditure is going to cost and separate it on a month-to-month basis.  This way you can never over spend if you know how much money you have available.

  • Separate Checking Accounts

You’ll have to speak with you bank, but I was able to get two checking accounts.  This way I could have all of my money for school in one of them and then transfer over a certain amount each month so I could keep track of what I was spending.

If you’re unable to do this, it’s not a big deal.  Keep all of your money for school in your savings account and then transfer over what you will need every month or if you choose to do every couple weeks, etc. Just remember that most banks only allow you to move money either out or into your savings account a certain amount of times so choose wisely when you really need to do this.  If you don’t they will charge you a fee, and this is not something us students need to be paying for.

  • Underestimate

I know this sounds like a strange thing to do, but it really does help.  Let’s say you overestimate how much money you think you’ll be spending each month and then use all of it.  Then you’re left with a smaller and smaller portion the following months.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Instead, think of the bare minimum you can spend and only put that much in your checking account.

This way you’re bound to have leftover cash at the end of the year which could either help with the following year’s tuition or you can use it to buy items for your apartment the next year.

  • Keep Track of Your Receipts

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the grocery store or bought something only for it to be forgotten.  I’ve wasted money on food products that were accidentally pushed to the back of the fridge.  Then when you’re cleaning you suddenly realize those tomatoes and leftovers from a week ago should have been eaten long ago.

It may not seem like a lot, but EVERYTHING adds up.  So keep track of your receipts and every so often take a look at them.  You may be surprised at something you’ve forgotten you bought that you could either use for school or be eaten for dinner.  Cross things off as you go and before you know it you’ll have saved tons of money!

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.
Kali White

Kali White

Kali White is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Her goal is to have a career working for a publication company writing and editing. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing and listening to music, and travelling.