How to Make Your Student Loan Last
When it comes to financial competency, students aren’t usually the first group that comes to mind. That’s understandable. Money management is a learning process that continues lifelong, and college is often where people begin that journey and it can be a rocky start. A 2016 study found that 60% of American college students had run out of money during a semester. If you’d prefer to be part of the 40% that make their money last, then read on for our best money-saving tips for students.
Set a budget
Your best defence against running out of money is a budget. Being mindful of your income and expenses allows you to prioritize your spending and eliminate unnecessary purchases. It may sound boring, but this will allow you to stop wasting money so you can spend it on the important things. <<Check out our list of the best budgeting apps to help you get started! >>
Avoid big monthly subscriptions
It can be tempting to sign up for all sorts of products that require a monthly fee. However, things like Netflix or an expensive phone contract can take a toll on your finances. When considering subscriptions such as these, be sure you can realistically afford them, and if not – don’t. When money’s running low, the last thing you want is a $80 phone bill coming out of your accounts every month.
Get a part-time job
Sure, you don’t want your day job to get in the way of your studies, but a part-time job can give you an extra financial buffer. Not to mention a chance to get more life experience, pad your resume and meet new friends. As long as you set clear boundaries in terms of how many hours you want to work, a part-time job can really help you avoid running out of money.
Pay big bills first
Yes, they’re expensive, and no they’re not fun. But things like rent and car payments are important. Pay them as soon as you can and get them out the way. Believe us; it’s better to pay as soon as possible than later in the month when funds are much more limited.
Buy food in bulk and cook with roommates
Cooking for one is not cheap. Supermarkets organize their deals and packaging around selling to families – that means buying in bulk and cooking with roommates will always work out cheaper. So try to arrange with your roommates some sort of system that means you cook for each other. Consider taking turns each night to cook – you’ll save money while having the chance to show off your cooking talents (or lack thereof).
Take advantage of student discounts
Whenever you make a purchase always check for student discounts. It will often pay off. Don’t be afraid to flash your student ID in shops, cinemas, and restaurants, because they often offer a student discount.
To get extra discounts online and from participating shops, the Student Advantage Card and the International Student Identity Card are a good investment. They cost around $20 per year and provide access to even more options for discounted products and services.
One very effective way of limiting your spending is to take advantage of cash. Instead of carrying your card around with you everywhere you go, take some cash out at the start of the week and agree with yourself to only spend the amount you’ve withdrawn.
Your college can help
Students are bound to make financial mistakes and your college knows this – they’ve seen it all before. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with your university’s support services. Many offer free advice for managing your finances that can help those who are struggling to keep a handle on it.
What school doesn’t teach you is how to effectively manage your finances. For that, the best teacher is life. Unfortunately, this means that many people can slip into cycles of debt that can make achieving their goals and aspirations almost impossible.
At CreditAnswers, our mission is to help people break that cycle and allow their finances to become a blessing, not a curse. If you would like to hear how you can become debt-free in as little as 24 months, get in touch with us for a no-obligation consultation.