Understanding how to properly budget is not a strength possessed by many college students. Unless you are working your way through college in order to pay for your studies, there’s a good chance you have no idea what the real world is actually like. There are so many college grads who enter the real world without a clue on how to manage finances.
As soon as a college grad is handed a diploma, it’s time to enter the real world. This newfound independence is exciting at first. But it also means that it’s time to start paying for groceries, rent, and utilities, all without the help of your parents. If you’re one of the many college grads who struggle to find a job immediately after graduation, paying for these things and more can feel impossible.
The Importance of Becoming Financially Stable in College
This is why it is so important to learn how to become financially stable and adopt proper budgeting techniques while in school. You should learn these healthy practices before entering college, but unfortunately, that rarely happens. Even if you don’t actually need to be financially independent in school thanks to your supportive parents, it’s a good idea to start trying.
Learning financial stability and independence will make it so that the realities of the real world aren’t so shocking. Instead of struggling to pay rent and utility bills, you’ll already have the tools and knowledge that are necessary to support yourself. You won’t have to rely on your parents or anyone else when it comes to paying your bills. Supporting yourself might be difficult at first, but it is also extremely gratifying.
How to Become Financially Stable in College
Learning about financial stability is one thing, but actually achieving it is something entirely different. It takes a great deal of self-control, but it also takes self-awareness. On top of that, creativity is another important factor when it comes to sticking to a budget. Having the ability to control the urge to spend money, staying aware of your budget, and coming up with creative ways to stick to that budget is what it’s all about.
Your college years are all about building up creative and innovative thinking. This doesn’t just apply to the classroom, but also to a bank account. Even if you’re not on an overly tight budget, try to get creative and think up new ways to save money. This doesn’t mean you need to eat Ramen noodles for every meal. You can get creative in other ways – it doesn’t need to affect your health.
Getting creative could mean cooking your meals instead of investing in an overpriced university meal plan. Or maybe you decide to rent your textbooks instead of purchase brand new ones every semester. Perhaps getting creative means thrift shopping for this weekend’s date party outfit instead of overspending at Urban Outfitters.
Whatever you choose to do, get creative with your budget. There are tons of people in the world who choose to get creative with their spending merely because they enjoy it. It turns out, being thrifty with a budget can actually be fun. Just imagine making Christmas presents for your friends and family instead of buying generic gifts.
College is the time to get to know yourself – your likes, your dislikes, your career goals, and even your spending habits. There are a few ways to develop this sense of awareness. The first is to keep a spending diary and keep track of all of your spending habits. This allows you to see exactly how much you’re spending on those 3 daily trips to Starbucks.
If keeping a diary sounds like too much work, you might consider downloading the Minted App. This is a budget planning app that offers a complete insight into your spending and budgeting habits. Minted syncs with all of your bank accounts and credit cards, and it even sends you notifications about when bills are due.
Practice Self Control
Once you have become aware of your spending habits, it’s time to practice some self-control. Now that you know exactly how much you spend on your daily Starbucks trips, it’s time to control your urge to pop in for a quick caffeine fix. Or if you’re an online casino enthusiast, avoid that urge to “click here” when you see a bonus offer for free slot spins.
Every single individual experiences different struggles when it comes to self-control, but the main thing to remember is that there needs to be some end goal in mind. Maybe your goal is fairly general in the sense that you are simply trying to save money. Or perhaps you have a more specific goal in mind, like saving up for a spring break trip to Cancun during your senior year.
To recap, we covered 3 tips for becoming financially stable in college:
- Get creative
- Learn self-awareness
- Practice self-control
By going through your college years with these tips in mind, you’ll have a better understanding of what it means to remain financially stable in the real world.