When you see college life in TV or in Karan Johar movies, you think of college as this fancy place where you go to have fun and chill out without any life problems and have the best life. But how much of it do you think is actually true? Well, not a lot. Actually quite less.
Welcome to the real world logistics guys where when reality creeps in, all the fun, excitement and enjoyment goes out of the window, and all you’re left with are career choices,academics and paying bills.And while the former two are indeed important topics, I’m not talking about them today as they’re pretty subjective (and can be boring at times as well!) It’s a difficult world out there for college students. Among the homesickness, quest for glory and the multitude of new things we get introduced (yup, exactly the ones you’re thinking about) to while in college, finances often take a back seat.
In the light of this, let’s have a look at 10 personal finance hacks (yes, hacks!!) for college students, to get through their college days, with flying colours! And trust me, these are absolutely simple and easy-to-do things, which just require a little effort. That’s all!
The one avenue which can help you save the most money is your commute — to and from your college. Commuting today is a costly affair and having to pay a considerable amount of money on it is a big problem for a lot of college students. And if you’re staying far from college, you don’t have any other option.
But what you can still do is avoid using private vehicles for your commute and instead, go for public transportation. The truth is nobody likes to spend staggering amounts of money on college commutes yet we all do. Hence, the best way to save money while traveling is to use Public transport like Metro, car pools, buses and shared autos. Using public transport will definitely help you in saving a few extra bucks that you can choose to spend elsewhere more important.
It’s very easy to be tempted into the endless cycle of buying Fries, cola, Burger, Pizza, Chips and so on and so forth. Probably reading this right now makes you want to eat them but that’s the whole point! You have got to learn to build your resistance against these impulses so that you don’t get caught in the vicious cycle of eating Junk.
It not only deteriorates your health but also adversely affects your pocket. Just try to calculate the amount of money you spend on junk every week and do let me know if your eyes don’t pop out.
So, cut down on your losses now (both money and health wise) and try saving that money. And if you do want to spend it, spend it on healthy items such as fruits, juices and other healthier alternatives — I know it is easier said than done but you gotta save money, right!
Making a proper budget for yourself is definitely a good place to start, if you also want to manage your finances in the future. Budgeting is one of the most talked about yet one of the least understood and yet lesser practiced thing.
So, let me not go into the ramblings about the benefits of budgeting again and to leave with you with just one thing — Start Budgeting. Today. Now. There are ample budget apps available online that can help you with saving, spending and maybe even investing.
Lodging is another area where you spend a solid amount every month. And while I do understand it’s unavoidable to not spend on lodging when you are staying in a different city (or even a different country), a relatively simple thing you can do, is to find a roommate to share your flat. This way you could split your rent and save a really good amount of money.
Yes, yes, I understand your “situation” — you’ve always had your own room and you don’t like someone invading your privacy and this and that as well. But the bottom line here is you want to save money, and for that, you have got to be ready to let go of your privacy a little and pitch in with other people in order to get an affordable room.
College life is extremely different from school life. You have the complete freedom to spend your money in whatever way you wish without being answerable to anybody. But with all the freedom comes a sense of responsibility.
No, I’m most definitely not here to moral police you but can tell you with full confidence that indulging in Alcohol, Smoke and other addictive substances is as heavy on your pockets as it is on your health. So by cutting on these habits you can easily save some good money, that you can spend on much healthier and safer outlets.
Hanging out extensively is time, energy and above all very money consuming. And while I’m not telling you to lock yourself inside a cavern, what I’m asking you to do is to limit it. To a certain extent.
This could be difficult. Especially if you’re an extrovert (yeah, I can see that grin), who by nature are more outgoing. But that’s the challenge you need to ace. You already know that just one night of partying is enough to make you go broke for an entire week, so it’s better if you first evaluate your financial situation and only then go out.
Plan your weekends / weekdays wisely and limit your outings to 1 or 2 in a week. You will be thanking yourself and hopefully me too later!
It’s always advisable to be prepared for any kind of adversity in advance. And when you’re a college student, the times of adversity are in plenty. Or I should rather say, always!
As much as we all like to be in control, we know that life is after all unpredictable. But that in no way means that we shouldn’t try so it’s always a good idea to save 20% of your money every month beforehand in an emergency fund and use it later if needed.
We buy things we don’t need, thinking that maybe someday we will have a use for them — common human problem. Honestly, if you are buying things that you know you don’t actually need just because you might need them someday, you are actually fooling no one but yourself. We all know how such enterprises end 90% of the time. So it is always a better idea to be sure of what things or subscriptions you need monthly.
Netflix, Amazon Prime and hotstar are all applications that have similar use and features. In the same vein, gaana, spotify and YouTube are pretty much the same when it comes to music streaming. So, make a wise and informed decision as a consumer and go for only one of them. Because, at the end of the month, you’ll be left with no money and all you can afford to eat is maggi.
Learn to make wise and sensible choices in the now (present) so that you don’t have to worry about them later (future).
Books are expensive and there’s no two ways about it. And it’s not that you’re gonna savour your books after you move out (nope, I ain’t believing you). So, if you’re not too fond of the smell of new books, you can try buying second hand books instead. And just as a by-product, you will also be making a difference in the world by saving paper.
Along with that get a library card as well (Yeah! That sacred place) so that you can issue books from the library and save money you would have otherwise spent on buying the same books.
Trust me, this is one of the most overlooked aspects of personal finance. A part time / work from home job is not only a great way to earn some extra bucks every month, while at the same time can also reduce your dependency on your primary source of income.
In a way, it’s like you save more when you earn more so if it’s possible for you to work after college hours or work from home, it will be extremely beneficial for your finances. So, start looking for a part time / work from home job and you’ll be well on your way to complete financial independence :))
Now, in the end all I want to tell you is that I completely understand that your college life is supposed to be a gala time for you and in no way, I’m telling you to cut short on you exciting 3 / 4 years of college life. But a little financial planning will not only go a long way in ensuring a debt-free present but will also help you in enjoying your college life better.
In the end, I’ll close with this — Don’t let any day go to waste — Save today, Spend tomorrow!