Top 5 Smart Spending Tips for Students - How to Make Ends Meet in College
Over summer vacation many students work hard at jobs they may or may not like, earning money to help them get through the school year. This is perhaps especially true for college students who, away from home for the first time, are just getting their feet wet with managing their expenses (of which there are many) on a shoe-string budget.
As college students are settling into the fall semester, many are probably realizing how quickly the money they earned over the summer can go. When you’re a full-time student it can be difficult to find ways to earn enough money to cover your expenses during the school year. As a result, it’s vital that college students are smart about how they spend their money and maintain a strict budget.
Having been there, done that and gotten the diploma, here are a few tips I wish I’d known when I first started college. I hope they prove helpful for those of you currently giving it the old college try.
 Carefully budget the money you earn while on breaks - If you don’t have a paying job during the semester, it’s important to determine how to make the money you earn on breaks last. Figure out how much you can afford to spend each week, what you can afford to spend it on and do your best to stick to that.
 Investigate your room and board situation ahead of time - Find out if you can carry unused meal plan money over to the next semester. Also keep in mind that adding money to your meal plan during the semester can be much more expensive than choosing the correct plan at the beginning.
 Take a vested interest in the loans you agree to - If you don’t carefully investigate the student loans you take out now, you cannot properly prepare yourself to begin repaying them once you graduate.
 Sign up for classes and exams on time - Sometimes there are fees associated with signing up for special classes or entrance/certification exams late. One of the first steps to sticking to your budget is to not spend money unnecessarily. Be proactive and avoid spending money that you don’t have to.
 Try to get a paying job that relates to your major - If you find you need to or have time to work while you’re in college, do your best to get a job that will not only pay you monetarily for your time, but will also give you valuable experience.
Keep in mind that college is a learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. The steps you take during this four-year period will prepare you for a lifetime of smart (career and financial) choices!
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