4 Tips to Stay Financially Stable During College
The global economic recovery is pushing forward at a moderate pace, and many more people have chosen to pursue a college degree rather than entering the workforce directly after high school. Additionally, a larger number of students already in college have opted to extend their scholastic careers in order to complete a graduate degree.
Long-term, investing in education tends to produce highly favorable results and opens doors for a much wider variety of career choices. But from a money perspective, this can create financial risks as tuition and living costs will usually far outweigh what you are able to generate in terms of income. Here, we look at four ways college students can remain financially stable while they finish the college degree.
Student Credit Cards
More and more transactions have become digital and it is always a good idea to utilize the benefits of student debit and credit cards. Unfortunately, a debit card will not enable you to start building your credit history so it pays (literally) to find low-fee or no-fee student credit cards that have rewards programs. These cards can be great be for emergencies and many offer cash back rewards that can help offset costs in some of your daily expenses. Some options can be found here and here. But it is critical that you pay off your balance every month or you might find your card cancelled and your credit rating damaged. Never spend more than you can afford when using a credit card.
Get A Job
Many students avoid getting a job because they feel as though their studies might suffer or that the added obligation will limit the potential to have an active social life. But actively spending money while doing nothing to generate income is a recipe for financial failure. Fortunately, most colleges have a broad range of work study and employment opportunities that will allow you to fit a job into your school lifestyle. For example, getting a job in your school library might allow you to study and finish homework during the downtime. Getting a job in the school coffee shop might allow you to socialize and meet new people. In any case, it is always important to make an effort to add funds to your bank account, rather than simply making daily deductions.
Actively Plan Your Budget
One of the benefits of college is that your school scheduled is made clear right from the beginning. You know exactly where you need to be, and for how long. This makes it much easier to budget your expenses and actively plan your daily spending allowance. There are plenty of great tools that will allow you to learn finance online, which can help with this. Unfortunately, most students fail to complete this simple part of the equation and the result is often a negative surprise when checking a bank account balance at the end of the month.
Scholarships, Grants and Free Money Sources
School scholarships have been around forever, but a relatively small percentage of students actually take advantage of the opportunities. Because of this, many scholarships actually go ignored and the funds are never received by students in need. Good sources to research and apply for scholarships and grants can be found here and here. Additional opportunities can be found on your campus itself, as programs like school blood drives can allow students to earn some extra cash in their spare time.
College can bring tough financial times, as there are many expenses and not much time to actively pursue gainful employment. Student credit cards, job opportunities, budget planning, and scholarships should be part of any game plan for students looking to maintain their own financial stability.
The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.