Keep track of your expenses!

How many times have you ever had to starve yourself because your bank account balance shows ‘RM3.15’? How many times have you ever had to resort to Maggi cup because of the same reason? How many times have you responded with, “Never mind lah, I’m not hungry” when your friends invited you for lunch?

If your answer is that this has happened more than once, then you should probably give this a read.

Independence is one of the key terms related when you think of college. It is also synonymous with young adults holding a bigger responsibility when it comes to managing your own money—now that mum and dad’s wallet are out of reach.

As a student, your focus is to study and live while you’re young, but if you fail to give enough attention to how you spend your money, you might be facing more difficulties than just worrying about the pile of assignments that just keeps adding on.

Whether it be you never paid that much attention to your monthly grocery expenditure or how much those Starbucks coffee runs cost you, you know you need help with managing money.

By establishing a good finance habit and keeping a finance checklist, you could teach yourself on how to save money because a little planning goes a long way.

If I still haven’t bore you to death, continue reading if you’re interested to know the tips on how to save and manage money as a college student.

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Tip #1 : Budget, Budget, Budget!

This is one of the most important and basic step in managing money. The best way is to have a budget for everything. This means assigning specific funds every month towards eating out, books and supplies, hanging out with friends, etc.

By creating a budget and sticking to it doesn’t mean that you can’t have any fun. Just budget it in as well. Although, don’t forget that sometimes having a great time doesn’t necessarily requires money and keep in mind that by budgeting, it should let you save a portion of money every month.

Tip #2 : Cash is the Best

A swipe of your credit card at the cash register is simple—sometimes too simple. It’s easy to forget how much money you are spending when your only method of paying is by using a plastic card. It’s been known that by spending actual cash, it creates a sense of loss. Meanwhile, by paying with a plastic card, it doesn’t create any feeling. Therefore, it’s easy to forget that it equals to actual money.

This will help to control overspending because once the money is gone, it’s gone!

Tip #3 : Needs > Wants

College students are known to burn off their money by splurging on things that they can do without. Therefore, it is important to know how to separate needs from wants and how to limit most of your expenditures towards the things you need. Ask yourself, are those daily gourmet breakfast muffins worth it, or should you have just spent around RM2 on a good ol’ sandwich?

Try to track your expenses for a month or so and hold back from spending too much on wants, you’d see some changes in your bank account balance.

You could also give yourself weekly cash allowance for your wants, so when that’s gone, you need to wait until next week for more wants.

Tip #4 : Carpooling is the Way

Carpooling with other students can be convenient and cheap. By using this technique, you can save money on gas by splitting the fee among the carpool passengers. It can also help to save the cost of maintenance if you rotate the use of vehicle between your carpool friends.

Not only this method will help you to save money, it can also help to save time. I mean, how many times have you been late to class just because you can’t find a parking in the ever so crowded SS15, am I right?

Tip #5 : Earn What You Can

Getting a part-time might seem somewhat intimidating because you would be worrying if your job is going to get in between your studies. That’s why it’s better to just work as much as you can without abandoning your studies. Try to find some freelance jobs because it’s one of the easiest options to earn cash on the side.

Not only you will be gaining extra cash, it’s one of the easiest way to gain experience, depending on what you’re majoring in. There’s also a lot of other creative and easy way to gain extra cash without letting go of your studies, such as starting an online store or even hosting garage sales on weekend with your friends.

College life can be expensive but knowing how to manage your money can be a real help. This will also help you to learn how to be a responsible adult. Remember to always consider your purchases carefully and be sure to keep your finances in check.

Written by Nabilah Rahim


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