7 Tips for Financing Your First Year in College

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  • Getting ready for your first year of college?

    The fall semester is a rather exciting time for college freshmen who will be navigating through campuses and living independently from parents for the first time.

    This means that college freshmen will not only have to worry about maintaining focus on goals in college, they will also have to make their own money choices and try to avoid falling into financial traps.

    Luckily, there are many ways to achieve financial stability during your first year in college and these 7 tips are here to help you achieve this.

    1 Stick to Your Budget

    It is important to make a budget plan and stick to it during your first year of college. You should make a list of all the income sources, as well as a list of estimated monthly college living expenses including school supplies, meal plans, cash for rent, etc.  Creating your budget is not that difficult, but sticking to it takes practice.

    2 Smart Shopping for Textbooks

    Did you know that textbooks are known to be one of the biggest first year college expenses? Instead of purchasing new books at the campus bookstore at the start of each semester, shop for used textbooks online or used textbooks rentals and save loads of cash on this.  It is also recommended to invest money in an IPad or Kindle and download books, as they are less expensive in that format.

    3 Avoid Additional Loans

    In order to survive your freshman year, make sure to avoid taking additional loans. Of course, it’s okay to have a student loan if it is needed for paying the costs of tuition, but if you are thinking about getting an additional loan for lifestyle expenses like new clothes and gadgets, this is a path to disaster.

    4 Taking Advantage of Student Perks

    One of the advantages of being a college freshman is that you’ll have access to a bunch of discounts. Use your college ID card to get discount on everything from meals to transportation and sports tickets. The good news is that college discounts can be found even outside college campuses and all you need to do is ask the employees if you can score something with your college discount.

    5 Avoiding Unnecessary ATM Fees

    In case you wish to save some cash, avoid paying extra ATM fees. The best option is to open an account in a bank that has a branch near your campus, so you can withdraw funds without paying fees all the time.

    6 Set Limits

    In order to finance your first year in college, it is important to set some financial boundaries and limits. Eating out three times a week and spending your cash on that new video game will is definitely going to influence your monthly budget in a negative way. However, if you set weekly or monthly limits, that brand new laptop will just have to wait.

    7 Look for On-Campus College Jobs

    Having a job is a great way to finance your first year in college. Instead of commuting for 3 hours to work, try and find an on-campus job where you will be working close to your department staff and professors. Whether you wish to work as a barista at the local coffee on the campus or you are thinking about tutoring other students, there are many ways to get some extra cash without actually leaving the campus grounds.

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    The Bottom Line

    I know that college can be expensive and dealing with money management for the first time in your life may be difficult. However, these tips for smart budgeting your first year in college may come in handy.

    Alex Lawson is a Financial Team Leader and a blogger, working together with other experts at Brighter Finance. Whenever not working on another project or helping customers with their financial issues, Alex may usually be found online, reading money-related blogs and sharing his tips with other experts.

    Image Credit: Pixabay

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