No matter what college stage a student is in, learning how to manage money plays a significant role in future financial success. Committing to live with the proper budget can save big bucks with costs like housing, school supplies, textbooks, and groceries.
No matter what college stage a student is in, learning how to manage money plays a significant role in future financial success. Committing to live with the proper budget can save big bucks with costs like housing, school supplies, textbooks, and groceries. Graduates with hovering student debt after completing school are often left with years of playing financial catch-up, which can be avoided by making the best financial moves.
Bryn Carden is currently a college student at Texas Christian University in the Neeley School of Business. She is working towards earning an undergraduate degree in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. While balancing her school work, dedication to Delta Gamma sorority, volunteer work, and start-up organizations, Carden says keeping finances in check is key to staying afloat while managing student life. She reveals five ways college students can avoid being weighted down by debt and can instead save money.
#1. Create a Budget and Stick to It
The word "budget" might seem like a restrictive term to some, but budgeting creates financial freedom and less of a headache when managing expenses. The first step to utilizing a budget is to make the right one for you. Start by calculating your net income, or the amount of money you receive every month. The next step is to list monthly expenses and prioritize them based on fixed and variable, determining costs for each. This information will help give you an idea of how expensive your lifestyle is and what changes you need to make to afford it.
#2. Prioritize Spending
Learning to prioritize spending will help with saving tremendously during your college days. Make sure your first expenses for the month cover your necessities such as bills, gas, school supplies, and groceries. If you find yourself going over your monthly budget, cut back on expensive things such as eating out, shopping, or buying all your friends' drinks at the bar. Also, when looking at your living situation, on-campus or off, consider the expense of each lifestyle, and choose the option that will be more friendly to your budget.
#3. Open a Savings Account
Suppose you already have a checking account (and plenty of free student checking accounts are available). In that case, you can open a savings account for free that will help you create a financial cushion for emergencies or future expenses. Saving doesn't have to be complicated - setting aside even 5-10% of your income can make a huge difference over time. One of Bryn Carden's favorite ways of saving money is by selling her gently used clothes on Poshmark. The great thing is once you've saved up enough of a buffer in your saving account, you can consider investing to make your money work for you without affecting your monthly spending.
#4. Make Financial Goals to Stay Motivated
Though many start out on a good financial path in college, getting caught up in a student lifestyle of frivolous spending can be easy, especially when hanging around friends who do not practice healthy money habits. Set financial goals to help you stay motivated to stay true to your budget and avoid spending above your means.
#5. Start a Side Hustle
Starting a side business while in college is an excellent way to put more money in your pocket. Carden co-founded an organization called BF Hats while in college, a design brand with a philanthropy twist, donating a portion of every purchase to Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.
About Bryn Carden
Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist with a passion for real estate and design. She is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles - a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.