Time to Crunch the Financial Numbers!
Some students experience real money-handling for the first time in their lives when they enter the college world. It may be a daunting experience because you’ll be afraid you might overspend, but if the right steps are taken, managing your money shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it should be fun!
What Should I Expect?
For some people, this is instinctive. ‘Just don’t spend if you don’t need it!’ is their motto. However, for many mere mortals, managing your money could as well be advanced calculus!
If you’re going to a college or university near your home, then there probably would not be many changes in the way you deal with your money. You could still be drawing an allowance from your parents, but do be careful not to fall into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses of your college. Otherwise, things should be fine.
However, if you’re moving out of your hometown to study elsewhere, then money management could become a survival skill, literally! You will now have to contend with things like rent, food, clothing, entertainment expenses, phone bills, Internet bills and so on.
So How Do I Do It?
First, you should get a rough idea about what are the things to be paid for when you get to the college. Asking someone who has been through this experience could be a good place to start. If you intend to save (and you should!), always put yourself on top of the ‘to be paid’ list.
After that, decide on the most important expenses that you need to pay off every month down to the least important ones. It makes you sound like a bean counter, but perhaps this is the best way to handle your finances now. Fixed expenses that need to be paid, such as college fees, accommodation fees and utility bills, should take priority.
Next on the list should be the optional expenses such as for new mobile phones, clothes, leisure and the likes. Allow funds for this if you’re sure you have sufficient.
But then again, you might want to have some fun at college as well but sometimes having fun means increased expenditure. However, you should not deprive yourself of the pleasures of college life. A moderate attitude is all you need. For example, if you intend to have fun singing at a karaoke with your friends, by all means do so, but if your finances do not allow you to do so, perhaps you can find other means of having fun that do not cause a hole in your pocket.
Money managing is an essential skill and perhaps the best time to pick it up is when you’re at college or university. Some people do not like to think about money and numbers but it is a necessity. Just remember to have fun while doing it!