8 ways to successfully budget in college

So, you made it to college and if you’re anything like me you have no idea what you’re doing…with anything. I didn’t have to have my first job until after I graduated from high school so I, of course, took money for granted because I never was the one working to get it..(Sorry I didn’t understand and appreciate you more mom). Anyways, once I DID have to start working for it I realized it was a lot harder than I ever imagined and stuff was REALLY expensive. At that point I was really struggling to figure out how I was going to go to work minimal hours after school making minimum wage and still be able to afford to eat, pay bills, and have money to do stuff with my friends.

HINT: I failed miserably at first. How? Well, at first I was picking and choosing what all I could do with my check and neglected everything else until the next time I got paid. DON’T do this!

  1. ALWAYS PUT BILLS FIRST

I know it’s hard because you’re young and want to have fun but if you find yourself having to decide whether to pay your bill or go do an activity with friends.. choose bills every time. There will always be another time, and there’s also things you can do for free at home!

2. Avoid loans and credit cards

Avoid loans? IN COLLEGE? I know it sounds ridiculous but I have managed to squeeze my way through three years of college without having to pay a single cent of my own money and so can you. Always, always, always apply for Pell grants, even if you think you will get denied.. that’s the worst that can happen. Go check all the available scholarships with your councilor or online.. There are TONS. Try work study, payment plans, just try anything but loans.

3. Make your own breakfast and coffee

Seriously guys, coffee pots are like $15 at Walmart.. invest in something useful with your graduation money.

4. If you have to buy take out or to go, use coupons

There’s no excuse, everyone has the internet now so take a few minutes out of your day and go look up coupons and daily deals for a couple of your favorite places. I have gotten a lot of free deals this way.. If you find yourself there frequently sign up for rewards, it is always worth the billion emails you will get a day! (I even use coupons in restaurants like Olive Garden)

5. BUDGET YOUR MONEY EVERY PAYDAY

First take out your money for bills. Second groceries. Whatever you have left is for your choosing (I recommend getting and putting into a savings account even if it’s only $5). I have two budget calendar’s on my wall.. One that has how much my bills are and an actual calendar so I know what bills I have to pay on each payday so I am never late. FullSizeRender (1)

6. Coupon and comp ads

Eating more than roman noodles is possible. Take the time on Sunday to go buy a newspaper, look up, and write down all of the ad matches. Also, clip all the coupons.. a lot of times stuff will go on sale to match the coupons, if you don’t use some save them and wait for a sale to get the best deal possible. THIS HAS SAVED ME SOOO MUCH MONEY AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO EAT ROMAN!

7. SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS AND REWARDS

Like I said before, signing up for coupon notifications and rewards is totally worth the billion emails I get a day because when it comes down to it and I have no choice but to run through and get something I know I can go look at my email and I can either get something really cheap or even free.

8. ALWAYS LOOK FOR DAILY DEALS

Whether it’s an activity or going out to eat, every place has daily deals.

Discount movie Tuesday, Wing Wednesday, whatever it is there is always something.. it may not be exactly what you were wanting for that day but it will save you a lot of money. Also look for deals for the time of day you go… It can make a HUGE difference on savings.