I know from personal experience that being a college student and balance finances can be very difficult. My memory is still fresh since I only graduated a year and a half ago. I am writing this article to help college students and recent graduates avoid the same financial problems I encountered. This article will not be discussing student loans or how to consolidate them; hopefully we will have a guide on that subject soon. Instead I will be talking about handling topics like paying for an apartment, grocery shopping, and buying and selling textbooks.
First off you need to make a budget including your monthly income and expenses. Make sure you are making more money than you are spending. If you aren't you might want to take out a loan or borrow some money from your parents. Do not make any charges to your credit card that you cannot pay off. The interest will wreck your future finances.
If you are living in an apartment or will be living in one soon make sure you have trustworthy roommates. You don't want a person who can't handle their money and not be able to pay their share of the rent, groceries, and utilities. The more roommates the better I say, because you can split up the cost easier and everything becomes more affordable. The first apartment I lived in was me and two other guys. It was a two bedroom apartment, and I shared a room with one of the guys. It was a little crammed, but we only had to pay about $180 a month each for rent, $15 for electricity, and we had cable with premium channels for $25 each. If you are looking for a place to live try and find an apartment that offers a student discount. Many complexes do if they are close to a college campus. You can also check online for discounts.
Another big area of college student finances is getting enough food. It can become really expensive if you buy only the name brand items, or order pizza every day. In order to stretch your money you should clip coupons and only buy the necessities. Usually you parents will give you grocery money or food. Sometimes you can find special coupons on campus that can be used for fast food or groceries.
Saving money on college books is always good. I hated spending $500 to $300 every quarter on books. One way to save is by getting a job at your school's student bookstore. When I worked at my school's bookstore I received a 20% discount off of every purchase. Working at a bookstore is pretty easy. All you have to do is stock shelves, help customers, run a cash register, and check stock. Most are flexible with the number of hours you can work a week, and you won't have to work that many hours. You can also try buying your books online. Many students list there books online, because a bookstore wouldn't buy them back, or they wouldn't give them that much money for it.
Hopefully this article has taught you a few things about personal finance. Make sure you make a budget for yourself, find a cheap apartment, use coupons for groceries or get them from your parents, and save money on books by getting a job at the bookstore or buying them online.
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