Making It Through College On A Budget
One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome when working toward your college degree is sticking to a budget. Many college students borrow money from student loans, credit cards and other sources to get themselves through college, and it is common for college graduates to have a considerable amount of personal debt as a result. Finding a way to make it through college on a budget can help you to avoid accumulating such a significant amount of debt. By following a few key tips, you may be able to live comfortably during your college years without living beyond your means.
If you are like most college students, the cost of housing is perhaps one of your most expensive expenses. Because housing is a regular expense in your budget, finding a way to live comfortably yet with minimal housing costs is a necessity. You can shop around to find the most affordable housing solution both on campus and off campus. When you are looking for a place to live, keep in mind that factors like the cost associated with your commute to campus, the cost of utilities and more will all vary based on where you live. Because of this, look at all aspects of your housing-related expenses before you make a decision. You can also save a considerable amount of money if you make the decision to live with a roommate while in school.
For many college students, the cost of vehicle expenses falls closely behind the cost of housing expenses in their budget. Vehicle expenses may include everything from the cost of your auto payment to your auto insurance premium, gas and maintenance costs. These expenses can all be lowered by choosing a more affordable vehicle to drive. For example, an affordable compact car may be far more affordable to drive than a luxury SUV. In addition, you can also shop for insurance through online insurance quote sites to further save money on your car expenses.
College students dine out for many reasons. In some cases, it is more convenient to grab a bite to eat as you are running to class or heading home after a long day. You may also eat out at restaurants to be social with friends. While it can be fun and convenient to dine at restaurants, the fact is that dining out can cost a fortune, and this is true even if you eat at fast food restaurants. Whenever possible, dine at home to save money, and bring a lunch from home with you to eat in between classes or while on the road. You can control your food expense more easily when you buy groceries and eat at home. You can also invite friends over for a potluck meal if you want to be more social while you eat.
Lower Travel Costs
College students are people on-the-go, and because of this, travel expenses should be a focal point when looking at your budget. Travel expenses can be high when traveling home for the holidays or between semesters. You can consider different ways to get back home during these times, such as taking a bus rather than flying. You can also consider staying close to campus and working instead of traveling home. In some cases, this may be a more affordable option to consider. There are also costs associated with your in-town travels while attending classes. When possible, consider using free or cheap transportation such as shuttles, city buses or even your own bike rather than your car. This will decrease the maintenance costs and potential repairs costs for your vehicle, and you may save a small fortune on gas.
The fact is that living within a budget can be difficult to do at first. However, over a short period of time, you will grow accustomed to living frugally. The end result may be that you can graduate college with far less debt than you otherwise would.