You are just about to enter college. The future is firmly set in front of you, you have plans, dreams, and goals ahead of you. There is just one thing you need to learn before you can fully embrace your life as a college student: how to budget.
It is never too early to learn how you can effectively manage your money.That is why we at Arkansas Baptist College have laid out a few of our favorite budgeting tips for college students.
Check out a few of our financial aid tips to learn how you can lower your cost for college tuition, and how to thrive on a college student’s budget.
Learning how to budget allows you to track your money, understand the value of the dollar, and help you manage your bank accounts. Once you have a better understanding of your income versus your spending, you will have a better idea of how your money works. Moreover, managing your money efficiently helps you ensure that you vital needs like food, housing, and health-related expenses, are all taken care of.
Setting and sticking to a budget gives you a better understanding of how money works in relation to the things you want to do. Before entering college, you probably did not think about how much a night out at the movies costs. Of course, after you are forced to pay for your own food and housing, the theater markup for tickets, popcorn, and drinks becomes all too apparent.Budgeting teaches you how to balance your needs with the things you want to do By doing so, you learn to responsibly allocate money for the things you need, so you can still have fun without breaking the bank.
Setting money aside during your undergraduate years might sound impossible, but it can be done, especially when sticking to a budget. If you can overestimate your expenses, keep your budget tight, and balance your spending, you can probably put a few extra dollars away every week. While that might not seem like much, a little every week can add up!
By learning how to budget now, you are setting yourself up for financial success in the future. Why? Because you are learning how to manage your finances when you do not have a lot to work with. Later on in life, when you have a ton of money, you will have a much easier time budgeting, investing, and allocating those funds.
Now that you have the details on why budgeting matters, and how it can help you succeed, it is helpful to know a few easy steps toward starting your budget and saving money. Check out a few of our favorite tips below.
Planning out what you eat and creating a schedule for food prep can save you a ton of money. It helps keep you from overindulging or buying expensive food. There are a lot of different ways to make it fun, too. For instance, try inviting friends over for potluck dinners with all homemade foods. While making your own food and prepping for the week can take a bit longer than just grabbing some sushi with your friends, in the end, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars, and plenty of empty calories.
These little tricks can help make budgeting a little bit easier. Try to overestimate how much money you spend, and underestimate how much you make, so you can end up with a surplus, rather than a budget shortfall. Just remember that overestimating your expenses is not the same as setting a spending goal. Try to spend less than your estimate so you can gain that unexpected surplus.
This one is short and sweet. Try to put away a bit of money every week toward an emergency fund. That way, when something bad happens (your car breaks down, you need an emergency doctor visit, your book prices go up), you will have a stash of money specifically to cover the expense.
Keep a close eye on your spending. Understand how much money comes in and how much money goes out. Organize your records, record your expenses, and use these to create a routine for managing your money on a regular basis. Make sure you consult this record in order to understand how much you are spending, how you can change your habits, and how you can make your spending more efficient.
This is one of the most helpful tips when it comes to budgeting. Budgeting seems incredibly difficult because there is not enough room to buy everything on your must-have list. But often, the issue is that everything on your list is not a must-have, but a want. Try to understand the difference between things you need (food, rent, insurance, etc.) versus things you want (new makeup, a night out with friends, a fancy latte). Once you do that, you will be more able to balance and restrict your budget.
Are you looking for more tips and tricks on how to budget for your college experience? Give the Arkansas Baptist College admissions department a call at (501)-420-1200 for more information on how you can save money while still attending the college of your dreams. Through our department, you can fill out financial aid forms, complete your admissions paperwork, and even schedule appointments with an advisor to better learn how to make college an experience that is not just affordable, but well within your budget.
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