Manage Your Money in College

Feb 22

Manage Your Money in College

by: arichardson

posted in: Freshmen Advice

I think we all have had the experience in which we have plenty of money at the beginning of the week, and then we're broke by Wednesday. It's all a part of learning to manage your money, even if your parents are helping you out. Here are some tips to stretch that money through the weekend.


1. Make school your first job. School is most important, and you have to pass the classes to graduate! Make sure you prioritize. It will help if you know that you can't go out all the time because, yes, you do have to study.

2. Look for a job on campus - sometimes even if you don't qualify for work-study, there will be a few jobs available around campus. Check on those. They're excellent for putting a few dollars in your pocket every week. Just don't overload on hours and keep your priorities straight.

3. Don't stop at the snack machine. I do that way to much, and it can seriously eat into your actual grocery money. If you must have snack machine food, try saving some of the change that you find in your pockets at the end of the day in a jar, and limit yourself to using only that money.

4. Print from the library computers instead of your own printer. You would be surprised at how much money you can save when you don't buy tons of ink and paper. And most of the time, printing from library computers is FREE. (Also, copies always cost money. Most libraries have scanners, and if printing is free, just scan your stuff in and print! FREE COPIES!)

5. Pay everything on time. If you live in an apartment, most places will charge you an even higher fee if you don't pay on time. Watch your budget, and make sure you take out money for rent and bills before going out to eat.

6. Along the same lines, keep track of your bank account. If you overdraft, most banks charge $20 or $30. And to make sure your bank account balance is the most current, call the bank - don't depend on the ATM receipt. 

7. Know where you can get student discounts, and use them!

8. SAVE money. It's a good practice to get into the habit of putting money into a savings account regularly (or even hiding money from yourself, though be careful of that for security reasons). For example, instead of going out one week, take all the money that you could have used and put it into savings. This way, you have a rainy-day fund in case an emergency arises. 

9. Don't get a credit card. Use only money you have to buy things. 

10. Buy used textbooks. Even if it's a different edition, usually only page numbers differ. 

11. Learn the art of the cheap date. Try going for coffee, checking out campus events (which are usually free or low-cost), or scour Groupon or CitySearch for local deals.

12. Separate needs from wants. The quickest way to burn through your money is to buy a million things you want and forget about what you actually need. Is a new pair of shoes really worth losing your rent check?


Do you have any tips for how to manage money?


Sources: - 401(K) 2013