We all know as college students it is difficult to cut down on expenses and have a steady flow of income to cover the expenses in school. Tutopiya is here with a step by step guide with 9 informative money management tips for you.
First, to follow along, download this spreadsheet that we have made to help you track your expenses for the month and this is also the first step to money management.
Here are 9 money management tips for college students – How to budget your money
1 – Tracking and planning your expenses
This is a good starting point to understand your spending habits – to begin your money management, it is important to track your spending for the first month. Refer to our monthly money tracker spreadsheet to fill up your expenses and any income inflow.
You will be surprised to find out how much money you will need to get through a month in college when you start counting everything, your subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music or Netflix and Disney plus.
Many students overlook these monthly expenses because you do not often see them physically, as they deduct automatically from your bank account.
This step is crucial for money management as you cannot just go into budgeting without knowing your fixed monthly expenses. So, take your time to list down all your expenses and income inflow and track your expenses diligently for a month.
2 – Budgeting
Only after you are done tracking and listing all your expenses down, you are clear of how much money you spend each month. With this amount in mind, you can start to budget and think of ways to manage and save money.
There are many money managing applications on our phones to help track your spendings such as Notion (you can download an expense tracker template) and Mint.
Here are some tips to help you save money on daily expenses
1 – walking to the train stations
If you commute daily to school, with many interchanging modes of transport (bus to train) it is good to consider walking to your train station instead of taking a bus. If it only takes you 10 minutes to walk there, it is worth it for a whole month. You will be essentially saving $20-$30 from walking.
2 – choosing food that is filling and cheaper
Universities and colleges offer a variety of food options, which also includes fast foods and bubble tea etc. Hence, make wise food choices by choosing cheaper alternatives, but it is still okay to treat yourself once in a while.
3 – buying only what you need
This is a common mistake made by many people, especially when we are hungry. We tend to overestimate the amount of food we can consume when we are hungry. Hence, we can overbuy our food or even groceries.
3 – Doing research on high interest-paying banks
There are some banks that are available in your country that offer a higher interest rate as compared to others. You will have to do some research and find some of the higher paying banks.
There are also some bank accounts that will require a minimum amount of money to be deposited to have a higher interest rate p.a, be sure to take note of them.
4 – Look out for saving deals and offers
One of the things that make saving money difficult now is the convenience of paying. Many of us go cashless now and payments are made so effortlessly, quickly and seamlessly.
This is a huge culprit too for people overspending as they do not feel or see the money leaving physically.
Hence, to tackle this, it is important to keep your eyes peeled for offers and deals. Some banks give cashback for when you pay cashless, be sure to always stay in the know.
These savings offers and deals are also applicable to purchasing everyday goods. Is something on offer that you can afford to pay now? Especially as students, more often than not you will find yourself stretched completely thin, but if you just pay attention to these small deals that you can find at your bookstore or grocery store, you can be saving pennies and dimes for all you know.
Alternatively, there are apps on the phone that offer you many deals, be sure to keep a lookout!
If you are from Singapore, there are applications like Fave and Grab that offer you many great deals every day. Did you also know that DBS debit cards offer cashback? Find out more about their deals here.
5 – Start investing now
Investment is a grade higher than just putting your money in the bank. Investments lead to a higher payout than banks, and this has been a known fact. Investments are a great way to steadily grow your money.
It is never too late to start your investment journey, start by connecting with your friends and getting insights about how investment works etc. Everybody has to start somewhere, so do not be afraid to ask questions and do more research on your own.
6 – Finding a work from a home part-time job
Being in college limits your time and energy and it’s understandable that not many can juggle so many commitments at the same time.
However, you can start small by looking for a flexible scheduled part-time job, or better still, jobs that you can work at the comfort of your own homes or hostels with a laptop. Consider jobs that do not necessarily require your physical attention – such as freelance copywriter, graphic designers, tutor and more.
Tutopiya is also actively looking for experienced online tutors to join our team, our work is remote and completely flexible. Sign up as a tutor to join our team today!
Alternatively, if you stay on campus, you can consider working on campus. Some campus jobs hire students and are able to adhere to their timetable. On top of that, it is just within walking distance!
7 – Consistently and constantly review your budget
It is not easy to keep saving money a habit especially when you are tight on the money every month. However, it is always good to start (even a small) saving habit. It does not matter how big or small the value is, the most important thing is that you are trying and you are planning for it.
As you may all have already heard, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Hence, it is wise to consistently review your budget and keep yourself on track and it’s also okay to cut yourself some slack every now and then!
8 – Having a goal for your monthly savings
You need not have a fixed number to the amount of money you want to save. These goals can be minute and simple such as just changing up your lifestyle a bit to save a little bit of money.
It could be something as simple as trying to walk to the train station every alternate day or week. Else, opt for a cheaper alternative for your meals every other week.
These small changes you are making to your life will eventually amount to an impactful lifestyle change in the long run.
You may even find that these small changes do not only impact your monetary life but your overall health. You will never know until you try!
9 – Making use of the school facilities
Your university offers you many different facilities to develop your interest and growth. They have gyms, swimming pools, sports facilities and more that students can use. Be sure to make use of these facilities to help you cut costs.
For example, students who have a habit of going to gyms, instead of getting a gym membership outside, which costs a lot, can go to your campus’s gym, which has all the same facilities you can find in a normal gym.
Joining CCAs that you have an interest in is also a good idea. Is your hobby rock climbing, bouldering, or dragon boating? Well, join the respective CCA clubs in your university, you not only get to visit climbing gyms & unlimited dragon boating sessions, but you also get to meet people with the same interests as you! What a win!
Another big bulk of money that students often spend is printing papers or buying textbooks for school. For all you know, printing papers are costly and the textbooks that universities use costs a bomb.
However, remember to always print your notes in school as they definitely charge less than your local bookshop. Additionally, instead of buying new books, rent old ones, look for them in the library or buy a second-hand book.
Tip: keep the book in mint condition so you can sell it again after you are done with it!
In a nutshell
We understand that money management is not easy when you are schooling and occupied by school 90% of the time. We want every student to know that it is okay to be taking a little more time than your peers. You have been doing a great job and you WILL succeed eventually! (If you read up until here, we wish you all the best with your endeavours in your university)☺️