There is a cliche joke in society about the “broke college student.” I know that when I first came to college that I was somewhat concerned about how much of a joke that stereotype actually was… Thankfully, through my one and a half years at college, I have not faced any severe financial difficulties. However, I attribute that to a few things and want to share them with you:
First of all, it is very important to take an active interest in your finances! This may sound obvious, but it is also very difficult to sit down and actually work out your financial plan. Do it! This will help you tremendously in planning and spending money. This can range from anything to a monthly budget to working out how much your actual bill towards your university will be for the semester. Making a solid plan for how to handle your finances will help you tremendously.
Knowing your way around campus resources concerning finances can also be a great help. Familiarizing yourself with the process of requesting financial aid, the differentiation between scholarships, loans, grants, subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans and much more all make a huge difference in how comfortable you may feel about your financial situation. I highly recommend that you explore all resources available to you in both high school and college… There are people who really want to help you be able to afford school!
When you arrive at college, the temptation to spend lots of money is definitely there. However, being smart with your money is vital to ensure that you do not incur unnecessary stress. Making a monthly/weekly budget for costs like food, entertainment, rent, etc is almost necessary! Never take costs for granted either… Calculate the cost of your meal plan… Is it more money per day than you want to be paying? Then reduce the meal plan and go buy groceries instead! Are you looking for something free to do on the weekends that’s still a lot of fun? Plenty of schools hold events for their students… At CofC we have Late Night at Stern every month where the Student Life staff (Hi LaVerne!) basically throw crazy themed events… And they are all free! It’s awesome!
Basically, I wanted to write this blog post to go ahead and alleviate some of the anxiety that may come with dealing with college finances. If you are proactive in handling your money and understand the ways to go about handling your money, I believe that any person (not just student) can be confident in their finances. It’s your money, handle it well!