Many of the things you learn at university have nothing to do with your classes. In particular, you’ll learn to be independent, which includes managing money. There are two ways to acquire these skills: the hard way by making mistakes and the easy way by using savvy money management strategies from the start. Here are some money-saving tips to guide you.
1. Create a Budget
It’s crucial to make a budget for all your expenses. This will ensure you never overspend and it will show you where your money is going.
To create a budget, you first need to know how much you have available to spend each month. Add together all your sources of income, such as from your part-time job and financial aid. Next, calculate fixed expenses like rent, subscriptions, and car payments. The amount that remains is for your variable expenses, which likely includes food, textbooks and other school supplies, personal care items, and entertainment. Decide how you’ll divide your money between these activities — always give yourself more than you think you’ll need for essentials.
To stick to your budget, it’s important to track expenditures. You can use a budgeting app or just a spreadsheet. This is especially useful when you start out budgeting because it allows you to adapt the amounts you assign to each category.
2. Be Smart with Credit Cards
Having a credit card can be a great way to build credit for after you graduate — but only if you use the card appropriately. Using a credit card to buy things you want now but can’t afford will hurt your credit score and potentially put you into debt. The best way to use credit cards is to only purchase what you could pay for in cash. Then, you’ll be able to pay your bill in full every month and avoid interest. It’s also a good idea to set a reminder to pay your bill to avoid late fees.
The last thing to bear in mind is you should use no more than about 30% of your credit. This may feel restrictive, but it will have a big impact on your credit score. By continuing to use your card appropriately, you’ll soon be able to apply for one with a bigger credit limit.
3. Keep Applying for Scholarships
Many students are under the impression they can only apply for scholarships right before they start university. In fact, many scholarships are available at any time. You can search for them yourself in databases or ask your financial aid office for suggestions. It’s worth keeping some free time in your schedule to apply for scholarships because some applications can be time consuming — particularly if you need to make a video or ask other people for letters of recommendation.
One last tip is to stop wasting money on expensive housing. Living on campus is particularly expensive, especially when you consider that all you’re receiving is a cramped room you need to share with another student. You can find Queens University off-campus housing at Foundry Princess. For an affordable price, you’ll receive everything you need and more: a spacious suite with a full kitchen and laundry facilities, underground parking, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and places where you can study alone or in a group. Our floor plans range from two to five bedrooms and some rooms have en suite bathrooms. Apply now for the unit you want.