As high school graduation approaches, it is time for seniors to think about life outside of their parent’s home. There are many freshmen that enter college and do not have a clue about budgeting. As you prepare for college in the fall, make sure that you have a plan. I wish someone would have told me the ins and outs to survival in college. I am not an expert in any way but there are few tips that I have learned from personal experiences. Some times we learn better from our experiences or those around around us.
Upcoming freshmen, take out a pen and notepad…
Apply for financial aide
This may not sound like a budget tip but trust me it definitely is. Do not assume that you won’t receive funding like the pell grant or other scholarships. Apply and see what you get. Once you receive your financial award letter, you will see what time of funding the school will provide. They will offer you subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans regardless but DO NOT borrow more than you need. Many students get caught up with receiving a refund check and do not think about having to repay the loan.
While you are in college, open a student banking account. There are many banks that offer student banking and will waive monthly fee. Opening a checking and savings account is extremely beneficial when it comes to budgeting.
If you happen to receive the pell grant and everything is paid for, put some aside. Lets say that you received a scholarship for academics or sports. That covers tuition, books, and sometimes housing. Now, you have a refund check (extra funds). Take the extra money and place some in your savings and the rest in your checking account.
Now if you do not receive any assistance, only take out a loan for what you need. If you have funds left over, use the remaining to put back on your loan. When you graduate, you will be glad that you did.
– The school will also offer you work study. It doesn’t hurt to work around the school in admissions or financial aide to earn a little side cash. Trust me that money does come in handy when it is time to buy items for your dorm or apartment. Some students will eat in the cafe but what happens when you are looking for that late night snack. The work study isn’t a lot of money but it will help with what you need. Try to put a portion of your work study check in your savings, pay loan, and use the remaining for what you need.
When I was in college, I used my work study pay stub to apply for food stamps. That was the best decision ever! At 18, there are certain requirements of course. You cannot work over 20 hours a week while in school. If you are a freshman, I wouldn’t recommend you work over 20 hours anyway. Based on my work study income, I received almost $450 a month to cover food expenses. My fridge was definitely stacked and I did not have to use the little money I did have to pay for extra food.
No Buy Week
I have tried this as an adult and it works wonders. No buy week means no going out to eat, movies, no coffee, no alcohol, and not even gas. For only one week? You know you can do it.
Going off to college is a wonderful experience, so enjoy every moment. Just think about life after college when making financial decisions. After graduating, Sallie Mae is looking for her funds, so try paying as much as you can while in school. I have seen many college students take out big loans just to have refund checks. That is the dumbest thing ever but when you are 18, you are not thinking after college. Just make wise decisions and SAVE!
I hope this helps in some way. Congratulations on graduating high school and prepare yourself for the next stage. You are off to new beginnings with new challenges.
What are some budgeting tips that you would recommend for the upcoming freshmen?