This post is very important to me. This is the kind of post I wish I had as a freshman--because as you will see later I sucked at budgeting. I am still not amazing at it, but I am leaps and bounds better than what I used to be. Today's post is another collaborative post so first things first of course check out the slideshow of tips on budgeting and then I will give my two cents on the subject.
Before I go on to my advice on budgeting I am going to talk about my freshman year. Okay--it was bad. I think I overdrafted my account almost weekly. I was horrible with managing money and I just didn't get a grasp on saying no and staying in. Learn from my mistakes with these tips.
Don't trust online banking.
For the most part your bank will be a great trusted source of how much money you have but you also need to keep tabs with how much you spend, what charges are automatically coming out of your account, as well as what is coming in your account and when. Be on top of all of these things as it will make budgeting ten times easier.
Turn off overdraft protection.
Seriously, if you learn nothing else from this--turn off overdraft protection. This feature is not for college kids. The only way overdraft protection helps you is if you don't want to be embarrassed by getting your card declined. I'd rather have my card declined than have to pay up later because overdraft fees can be harsh. If saving face is more important to you than money management by all means keep overdraft protection, but if not--trash it.
You have four years to explore your college town.
You don't have to do everything your freshman year. You don't have to try out all the restaurants or all the famous hangout spots. You have four years to make this town your own and find awesome stuff to do there. Don't fall victim to wanting to explore too much of your college town too quickly.
Always choose the more flexible meal plan.
When I take students on a tour of my campus this is something I always try to let them know. You may go to the cafeteria and think it's ten times better than the cafeteria food at your high school and that you will never get sick of it. You are lying to yourself--and that is something I wish I would have known. I tried to save money by getting the cafeteria only plan my freshmen year, but I actually wasted a ton of money because I wanted to eat at the student center (I lived right in front of the student center). If I had just gotten the more flexible meal plan I could have saved myself a lot of trouble my freshmen year.
Look out for free.
If your school is like my school--there will be tons of free events that you can go to. We had tons of sports events, theatre events, guest speakers, and more that come to my school. Just a few of the things I have been able to do since I came to UCA:
- See The Whitest Kids U'Know Live
- See Shrek The Musical Live
- See and Meet Lisa Ling
- See Nick Offerman live
- Watch countless football, basketball, voleyball, and more games from UCA sports teams and even more intramural games.
- See countless awesome theatre shows hosted by the UCA Theatre department
Those are just a few things--and I am sure many more that I don't have a ton of recollection of. Universities are always trying to bring awesome events to your school--all you have to do is seek them out. Your Student Activities Board will bring lots of events as well as your university as a whole. A lot of people think that you need a ton of money to go to these public events--but usually you can get in free or with a huge discount (only paying $5-$10) just for being a student.
So those are my tips for boss budgeting. If you have any questions don't be afraid to comment them down below and leave your own budgeting tips if you have any. What was your favorite budgeting tip from this article?