College is all about growing up, and part of adulthood is being aware of your money… or lack thereof. Here are some budgeting tips to help keep you financially afloat.
1. Know your expenses: You know what day rent is due and when your phone bill is due, but do you budget for gas every month? What about the bills that vary each month, such as utilities? Having knowledge of exactly what is leaving your account and when will be very helpful in creating a budget. Take the time to write down all the bills and payments that are due every month.
2. Use a calendar: Whether it is on your phone or an actual calendar you hang on the wall, mapping out your monthly expenses is essential to managing your money. If you are working, you can add your paydays to the calendar and calculate how much should be in your account at all times. It is a great way to make sure you stay on track and allows you to be aware of your spending throughout the month.
3. Open a savings account: Even if you don’t have much to set aside, $50 a month will be $600 by the end of the year. Student savings accounts have a lower balance requirement, often between $300-$500, and collect little interest over wthe year so you are being rewarded for saving! It is great to have some money saved for an emergency situation or holiday shopping, so starting as soon as you can benefits you in the long run.
4. Take a money management course: CSUN offers money management courses for students to help them set their budgets. Check the financial aid website for dates and times. There is also a website called cashcourse.org that offers online workshops to help you learn to manage money.
5. Use student discounts: Many popular places, especially near campus, offer student discounts if you show your ID card. This includes restaurants, clothing stores, and even some theaters. That 10 to 15 percent will quickly add up even if you are only eating out once in awhile.
6. Buy used textbooks: Many students do this already, but some want all their books in one place so they just head to the bookstore. With a little online searching, textbooks can be found at much lower prices. Also, Kindle and electronic versions of books are usually cheaper than the print versions, so they are a smart financial option.
7. Set an entertainment budget: We all need a little fun every now and then, but these outings can quickly become expensive. Groupon is great for discounts on entertainment as they have deals on concerts, fairs, nightclubs and other ideas for a fun night out. Sign up to get deals via email and always know what deals are coming up.