When you enroll in college, suddenly, there are many new and exciting opportunities open for you. This is a time of change, adaptation, and responsibility. Of course, you can still have lots of fun, explore your newfound freedom, and test the limits of your independence. But you can’t forget about financial responsibility or, simply said, your budget.
Students often have difficult relationships with their money. In most cases, they don’t have a lot of spare funds, so they have to look for more opportunities to make extra money. College is an excellent time to explore how you make and spend your money and learn the fundamentals of personal finance. You will likely carry these lessons with you into your adult life!
Some say that you don’t have to set aside every dollar and spend less. Sometimes, paying for essential stuff that boosts your mood or mental health is a huge investment in your well-being! For example, hiring an essay helper is not a waste of funds if it helps you get better grades. You will also have more free time and reduce the academic burden, so it’s definitely a win!
So, are you not sure that you are fiscally proficient yet? Here are 9 personal finance tips for freshmen!
Develop a budget for yourself
This is the first lesson in your journey of handling money as an adult. Correct and effective budgeting is one of the most important abilities you can acquire as a college student. Sit down and create a detailed budget that clearly states what you make and what you spend. Be realistic about your spending habits and prioritize your needs over wants. Here are some tips for you:
- It’s okay to spend on some silly things every once in a while!
- Try to avoid maxing out your credit card every month
- Put a focus on your mental and physical health
- Don’t forget about your necessary spendings!
Build an emergency fund
Even when you don’t have a lot of funds to spare, it’s always a great idea to set a small sum aside every month, like in a separate savings account. Unexpected expenses are bound to occur, whether it’s a medical bill or a car repair. Start saving for an emergency fund as soon as you can, so you don’t have to stress out later! Think of this as your financial safety net.
Limit your credit card usage
Lots of students rely on their credit cards for big purchases. Credit cards can be tempting, especially when companies offer enticing rewards and cashback programs. On the one hand, paying for the best research paper writing services with your credit card isn’t something drastic. On the other hand, buying a new car to pay it off later can be complicated in the future.
So, what can you do here? Here are some tips on how to be more mindful of your credit card usage:
- Avoid accumulating high-interest debt
- Pay off your balance in full each month
- Use credit cards for emergencies only
- Be mindful of your credit utilization ratio
Cook for yourself instead of going out
Sure, restaurants and cafés are pretty fun, especially when you are out with your friends on a hot afternoon. However, eating out and ordering takeout can put a big dent into your budget. Instead, learn how to cook simple and nutritious meals at home. Not only will this save you some funds, but it will help you develop valuable life skills. This is exactly what college is for!
Use student discounts
Take advantage of your status while you can! Lots of businesses, including restaurants, online shops, and entertainment centers, offer great discounts for students. This can be a pretty good savings practice for you, which might seem small at first, but they can add up over time. So, carry your student ID card and ask about available discounts before making a purchase.
Look for online textbooks
Lots of learners say that buying textbooks is among the most expensive purchases that they have to make before graduation. There are many books you need to buy every year, and it can really eat at your budget. Look for used textbooks online or rent them from platforms like Chegg or Amazon. You can also check if the library has copies or older versions available.
Start investing as early as possible
This is a great idea even when you have a tight budget. While it may seem too early to start investing in your freshman year, the power of compound interest cannot be overstated. Sparing a small sum each month and investing it into an account can help you grow your money over time. Explore low-cost index funds or robo-advisors, so you can know all your options.
Don’t forget about student loans
It can be easy to forget about having to pay off your student loans in the future while you are having fun in college. Student loans can be a necessary evil for many college students. If you have to take out loans, be mindful of the terms and interest rates. Only borrow what you need and understand the repayment process. Here are some tips for you so you don’t feel stressed:
- Seek out financial advice
- Explore loan forgiveness programs
- Look for income-driven repayment options
- Study your interest rates and restructure if needed
Take advantage of financial education
Luckily for learners all over the world, they don’t have to go through tough times alone! You can always take advantage of the resources available to improve your financial literacy. Attend workshops, seminars, or webinars on personal finance topics. Read books or follow reputable financial blogs. After all, this is a pretty universal experience for young people everywhere!
To Sum Up
So there you have it, 9 personal finance tips for freshmen! Being great with your money is a skill that you can train. This will definitely help you in your future when you already have some foundation of being fiscally responsible for your life. The more you learn about personal finance, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions and secure your financial future!