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Top 10 Money Management Tips for College Students
Do you want to have time and money to spend? Then the ideas you are about to read in the following paragraphs may shake your inner reality. Even though I write this for college students, that doesn’t mean the principles don’t apply to young adults or the young at heart.
As you review the top 10 money management tips for college students, I encourage you to take about 3-5 minutes to jot down ideas that you can apply to your own situations on a piece of paper. These tips are useless if you don’t act on them. ACT OK?
You know? Does the main difference between the rich and the poor lie in the way they view money? The rich think that the older you are, the more money you will have; poor people think that the older you are, the less money you will have. The wealthy know that the younger you start managing your money, the more time and money you will have at your disposal.
What if I told you that most college students I know are, by my definition, poor? Not only that, most of them have a negative net worth. In other words, if you pass them money to handle, is the money coming out of their pocket more than the money coming into their pocket? How can this be possible? Oh, it’s possible and it’s very common, and I’ll tell you how it can happen soon.
Introducing Joe. Let’s say Joe (it’s just a random name for illustration purposes) is an average 18-year-old boy in his town. He studies at a local university and, like any other of his classmates, likes to hang out with friends. Their usual activities include watching movies once or twice a month, eating at fast food restaurants about three times a week, and other forms of entertainment, etc. Now, his family is generally well off, in the middle income bracket of his country. His monthly allowance is $500, he earns about $200 by giving tuition. The fact is that every time, at the end of the month, he finds himself with little money. Sometimes, he even has to ask his mother for more money to complete his expenses.
Does this situation sound familiar?
When I was that age, I often feel like I don’t have enough to spend, no matter how much money I have. I always had this need to get the latest gadgets, change to a new cell phone, watch movies at the last minute and take a cab home because I felt too tired after a day of activities.
In retrospect, I realized that I could still do these activities if I could manage my time and money better. I can go out with friends doing what I like to do without spending a lot. If your friends only surround you because you spend money with/on them, you might want to reconsider whether these are your true friends.
I’m not advocating being cheap; I advocate being frugal and smart with money. In no particular order of importance, here are my top 10 money management tips for college students:
1. Bring a water bottle
If you spend about $2 a day on drinks, carrying a water bottle will save you $56 over 4 weeks, or $728 a year. This is simply because you won’t have to spend that money and you can still quench your thirst.
2. Reserve some cash in different compartments of your wallet
Have you ever found extra money in your wallet? Did you feel happy to find them “out of nowhere”? I know I did. By doing this, I trick my mind into thinking I have less cash to spend, so I won’t spend unnecessarily. This is especially useful in times of “emergency”.
3. Carry less cash; withdraw enough money from your bank
The concept is similar to point 2. The idea is to have less cash. When you open your wallet and find you only have $5, chances are you’ll be less likely to spend it. Of course, if you need to spend it, you’ll need to withdraw money from your ATM card. This gives you more time to think about whether it is necessary to spend this money.
4. Track your cash flow
About 95% of my peers, by college age, don’t know where their money comes from and where it goes. They have little or no idea that they spend an obscene percentage of their money on entertainment, food, transportation and clothing. I challenge you to track your money coming in and going out for three whole months. You will know what I mean. I use an iPhone app to help me do this. It’s ExpenSense. You can also use any other similar app to help you.
5. Save before you spend
This is essentially the “Pay Yourself First” principle. This forces you to treat savings as an expense. That way, your habit will be win-save-spend, instead of win-spend-save. This habit will have a big impact on the wealth you will make in the future. -wink-
6. Go home early
go home early I’m not saying staying out late is bad. I’m saying staying out late is expensive. Imagine taking transportation home with charges at night. The more you do this, the faster your money will run out. If you have your “own” car, you should know that fuel also requires money. Who pays this money? You can always go out with your friends during the day and get home before the charges arrive at night.
7. Pay with your credit/debit card
With your credit or debit card, you can keep track of your expenses for the month in a single log. This will help you get a better idea of how you spend your money, i.e. your spending pattern.
8. Always pay your credit bills on time
If you keep a credit card, you should know that an average interest rate is 20% on your credit bills if you don’t pay. For example, if you spend $100 on credit and miss your payment at the end of the month, you’ll pay an extra $20 on top of the $100. This is not worth it. Pay on time, at the end of the month. Avoid delayed nightmares.
9. Be responsible
This is the easiest and hardest thing to do. Be responsible for how you spend your money. Talk to someone you can trust. It is even better if someone has more experience in handling money wisely. They don’t have to be your parents. If you really can’t find anyone, you can write down your thoughts on how you spend your money each month. In this way, you will be more aware of the management of your money.
10. Take charge of your financial education
If you don’t control your money, someone else will. Financial education is by far the best financial investment anyone can make. It is relatively cheap. You can take a book to read and learn. You can attend seminars. You can talk to people who know more about a certain money topic than you do. Keep learning.
There you have it, these are my top 10 money management tips for college students. I hope you had a good read. Feel free to contact me to connect with me. Finally, please share this article if you find it helpful. I didn’t include this in the top 10 tips, but one more money management tip is to GIVE. Be generous; share the love
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