Four beneficial tips to help your college student stay on a budget – words Alexa Wang
Teaching your college student to stay on a budget can often be quite a trying and challenging process. Typically, younger individuals do not have much experience effectively managing their finances. They are also prone to frivolous spending. They may spend an excessive amount of money on leisure, entertainment, clothing, and electronics. Then, before they know it, they don’t have the adequate funds to pay for necessities, such as their rent, utilities, and groceries.
This is why it is important to take the time to teach your adult children valuable financial lessons as they make their start in the real world. The following information provides a closer look at helpful tips you may want to take into consideration in order to ensure that your college student is able to become more financially independent, make more logical and sound decisions when it comes to their money management skills, and stick to a budget:
1. Plan Ahead by Creating An Effective Budget
Creating an effective, clear, and detailed budget ahead of time can make it easier for college students to stay on track and motivated when it comes to their expenses. It can also help them to avoid poor spending habits. In order to plan a budget, your child will need to calculate the expenses they have to pay each month. For example, they may have to pay for tuition, rent, utilities, groceries, and gas. Then, they need to subtract this from their monthly income. They then need to determine if they will have any extra funds and how to allocate them.
2. Open a Savings Account
They may want to consider saving a portion of their extra funds each month to put into a savings account in case of an emergency or to help them make large purchases in the future, such as a house or car. Many young people do not realize the number of unforeseeable circumstances that may arise at any given moment. Their car may break down, they could suddenly lose their job, or they might have a medical emergency. Each of these incidents can be incredibly costly. That is why it is important to stick to a budget and save a predetermined amount of money each month. Doing this will allow them to become more responsible and financially independent because they will not need to ask anyone for help with obstacles arise.
3. Closely Monitor Spending Habits
It can be helpful to track their spending habits as well. This will show them any areas in which they might be wasteful and need to cut back. Keeping track of expenses will also allow them to create more realistic goals and monitor their progress. Often, progress is one of the best motivators, and reaching their financial goals can help them to set new, more ambitious goals for their future. Spending habits can be tracked by using a debit or credit card to make purchases, which can later be reviewed through their monthly statements or through an online account. It can also be helpful to save receipts for any purchases made with cash. Lastly, your college student may find it beneficial to keep a spreadsheet of their monthly expenses or to use a budgeting app. This will help to keep them more organized and focused in the long run.
4. Find Creative Ways to Save Money
There are always ways to save a bit of extra cash each month if you do your research and are able to think creatively. For any purchase you are considering, there will likely be a cheaper alternative. For example, the textbooks students have to purchase for classes are typically quite expensive, and these costs can really add up over time. Therefore, it can be beneficial to purchase used textbooks instead of buying them brand new. This can often save college students a huge amount of money each semester, which they can use for other things. They may also want to look into a company that will allow them to rent textbooks, which means they will be able to rent textbooks for their class then return them at the end of the semester. Another way your college student can save money includes utilizing student discounts. Many companies, such as retailers and restaurants will offer college students a discount. Typically, you will have to sign up on their website or use your student ID card when checking out. It may not seem like much, but these discounts can really add up over time and help your college student to stay on track with their finances.
Overall, it is important to stay diligent and instill the importance of financial planning and responsibility in your college student. Typically, this will be the first time many young people are experiencing financial freedom and independence for themselves. If they are not well-equipped to handle the responsibility, they may end up making some serious errors, such as racking up credit card debt or relying too heavily on family members for support, which can thwart their progress towards becoming an adult. If you are able to effectively utilize the aforementioned tips, this can make a huge difference in their ability to provide for themselves in the long term and can help them to develop good financial habits, which can come in handy later in life. They need to be able to live within their means, make good decisions, and avoid the temptation to overspend on unnecessary items. Cultivating these skills will make them more conscious of their spending habits and will teach them the overall value of a dollar.