As September gets closer and closer (unfortunately) many returning college students and new college students are focusing on what they need to bring to college. Just to get a little creative on a weekend I wanted to write to you guys about a different kind of what to bring to college checklist. The checklist today involves what essential money management skills you should bring to college:
Spending less than you earn may mean spending nothing
If you choose not to work then you will be in a quite the peculiar position. If you have no money coming in then you really shouldn’t be spending at all. The trick to graduating from college debt free is to have some sort of income coming in and to manage this money wisely. If you do not have an income coming in then you need to capitalize on all sources of free money and scholarships.
Setup a financial buffer during the slow periods
It’s easier to work during the summer months when you only have to worry about not missing a great party next weekend. It’s also a lot easier to save up some money during the slower times in the semester (after midterms, after finals, when there’s no assignments). I recently wrote about how to make some money now and I stressed the importance of using valuable free time to save up money for college and the dry times that come with it. The goal is to save up as much money as possible (also known as emergency fund) when you can so that you do not have to dip into your savings account or God forbid use your credit card.
Be creative with your money management
In college you are probably going to have to try every humanly possible way of saving money. Why not get a little creative with it? You can become the person that returns all of the empty bottles after a party. You can bring lunch for all of your friends to school for a small fee. You can reward yourself every couple of months. You can become a professional bargain hunter. The list goes on and on. The take home point is that money management does not have to be boring.
Try some of the many ways to make money in college
Earning an income in college is very doable and pretty much everyone can do it. Some students can devote more time to making money than others but every college student has the opportunity to make some money. If you don’t have the patience to be a tutor then try finding a job in the school gym. If you aren’t athletic at all then find work at the campus pub. If you hate alcohol then try starting a blog for money.