Money Managing Tips For College Students

budgeting 101 for college students

So you made it to college life, congrats! Now it’s time for the not-so-fun part: budgeting. Between the excitement of new friends, activities, and independence, money management often falls to the backburner.

You don’t need an accounting degree or financial wizardry to have a nice savings account as a college student. With some simple tools and tricks, you can gain control of your cash flow and still have plenty left over for the exciting stuff. In this blog post, we’re going to be taking a look at the best ways to manage money in college so you can start building a financial foundation.

Establish a Budget So You Know Where Your Money is Going

In college, the first step to becoming a expert in personal finance is figuring out where your money is actually going each month. Track your bank account for a couple of months to check your cash flow patterns. Are you dropping too much at the coffee shop or eating out more than you realized?

Once you know what you’re spending money on, create a realistic budget. List your income sources like financial aid, jobs, loans, and support from family. Then list essential expenses – rent, food, utilities, transportation, loan payments. Allocate your income to necessary expenses first before discretionary spending. Even though it seems basic, creating a clear list and budget is going to mean more money in your bank accounts each month.

Student Discounts & Free Resources

I already have a budget established, what’s next? Well, use your student status to your advantage! Many places offer student discounts if you show your ID or acceptance email.

Check with Local Businesses

Ask stores, restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues if they offer student rates or promotions. Perhaps you could get a 10-15% discount or even free admission at certain places.

  • Movie theaters, museums, amusement parks, and sporting events are good places to check.
  • Stores like clothing retailers, tech stores, and bookstores frequently have student deals.
  • Some gyms and entertainment subscriptions like Spotify or Hulu offer student pricing.

Find & Use Free Resources

Your tuition fees already could be paying for many resources, so take advantage of them!

  • Borrow most or all of your books, movies, music, magazines, and more from your campus library. They have both physical and digital materials available.
  • Use your university’s career center and academic advising resources. They offer helpful services at no additional cost.
  • Check if your school offers free or low-cost health and counseling services. Many do.
  • Attend free on-campus events like guest lectures, concerts, sporting events, or plays.

Look For Ways to Earn Extra Income

Why just save money when you could make more? Another one of the best ways to recover your checking account is to bring in additional income. For example, consider a part-time job, maybe 10-15 hours a week. Look for jobs on campus like tutoring, research assisting, or in the cafeteria. You could also find work off-campus at local stores, restaurants, or as a rideshare driver. Any extra money from a steady part-time role can help pay for essentials and leave you with some cash for other things.

If freelancing is a great option if you have a skill or talent you can market. Things like online tutoring, website testing, transcription, surveys, and market research studies are all easy to do on a flexible schedule. Promote your services on websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or 99 Designs. Finally, look for ways to make free money from underutilized assets. For example, rent out your spare room, driveway, or parking space.

Government Programs to Help Students

While there are many of managing your own money in college, sometimes you can benefit from joining a government assistance program as well. Besides federal or private student loans, here are some of the most popular programs for students to join:

SNAP Food Assistance Program

If money is lower this month, the SNAP program can help cover groceries. Eligibility depends on your income, but many college students do qualify. Benefits are provided using an EBT card that can be used at most grocery stores and farmers markets.

Medicaid and CHIP Health Insurance

Medicaid & the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide low-cost or free health insurance for those with limited income. As a college student, you may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP which can help cover doctor visits, hospital stays, vaccinations, and more. Check with your state’s program to check if you meet the income requirements.

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As a college student, bringing in a good income while enrolled in courses is pretty difficult. Let alone managing money that you do make. But with some of the techniques in this blog, as well as the government programs we talked about, you could be well on your way to financial success.

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Or you can come down to one of the EASY Wireless’s retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.

Either way, the first step is to provide proof of identity with a government-issued ID. This is so you can confirm your participation in one of the qualifying programs or that you meet the household income requirement.

We accept the following U.S. Government Issued ID:

  • U.S. Driver License
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. Government, State or Tribal issued-ID
  • U.S. Military ID cards
  • Permanent Resident Cards
  • Permanent Resident Alien Cards

You can show the following documents to prove that you are taking part in a government assistance program or use them as proof of active benefits:

  • Statement of benefits from a qualifying Program.
  • Notice letter of participation, such as an award letter
  • Program participation documents, such as a screenshot from an online account.
  • In order to show income, you can provide any of the following proofs:
  • Unemployment Documentation
  • Copy of your State or Federal income tax return.
  • Three months’ worth of current pay stubs.
  • Veterans Administration or SSI benefits letter.
  • A divorce decree or child support document that states income.
  • Retirement or pension statement.

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