Moving away from home is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your lives as this represents independence, freedom, and willingness to take on responsibilities for yourself. This also translates into having a new city to explore, new classes to take, new friends to make. In your first-year, when the new academic year begins is also when you step into the real world on your own.
No doubt you will be ecstatic about being on your own but acknowledge that this calls for financial responsibility and budgeting. Balancing the cost of bills, rent, books, and still having some funds to have a little fun can be a difficult assignment. Managing money and setting budgetary goals may seem like the last things you want to do at the end of a busy day filled with classes, group projects and exams, but developing good habits early is worth the effort. Here are a few tips from Placio helping you understand the need and importance for financial independence.
Why you need a budget
We understand that you would be busy submitting assignments, completing required internship hours, spending late nights with friends, spending time to create and maintain a budget may seem like a big useless task. While budgeting takes time — a valuable commodity in college — it’s worth it. The best piece of advice Placio gives is to keep it simple. Some expenses are fixed, while others fluctuate from month to month. By setting a budget for things like eating out, clothes and travel, students avoid running out of money before the semester ends and can save for things like vacations, fun time or any emergency expenses.
First and foremost identify how much money you are getting per month. Before doing anything else, first time PG renters need to know how much money they will be getting per month from your parents on a regular basis. Once you have this number ready, you can move on to the next budget tip.
Next don’t rent a PG you can’t afford. That gorgeous new luxury student apartment building is tempting, but do you really need it if you can’t afford AC rooms. Rent will be your largest monthly expense, so it’s important that you stay at a place you can actually afford. The general rule of thumb is that you stay in a safe neighbourhood and near your academic campus. If you’re a college student living in a new city aim for the most affordable place you can find, within reason.
Don’t underestimate food costs. Placio offers student 4 meals per day. Still properly quantify how much money you will actually spending on food on your college campus. Maybe you want to order a pizza once in awhile. Simply write down every single time you spend money on food. Once you have done this, you can determine if you want to spend less than you currently are. If you do want to spend less, simply set that amount and don’t allow yourself to spend more than your predetermined amount.
Keep track of what you spend each month. This may sound like a massive chore, but free budgeting apps do most of the work for you. Simply sync your bank accounts to whichever budgeting app you choose, and you’ll get reports telling you exactly what you’re spending and where. You may come to realize that you’re spending more on takeout than you thought.
Avoid taking loans. Yes, there are emergencies where you cannot avoid spending. However, if you prepare well, keep a minimum of Rs 5,000 saving at all times. Only use this method of payment if every other option has been exhausted.
Buy used textbooks. As a college student on a budget, you need to save money wherever you can. Instead of buying new textbooks where the prices will be marked up buy used ones, photo copy them or even better, rent them if you can!
Take advantage of discounts. Ask if there’s a student discount when you’re going to a movie or eating out. You might be surprised by how many places are willing to slash prices for college students. They’ll probably ask you for your student ID, so make sure you have it on hand. Want to save even more? Start clipping coupons and use them.
Keep credit card purchases to a minimum. Credit cards can be pretty dangerous if you’re trying to stick to a budget – it’s just so easy to swipe that plastic without seeing your bank account balance drop. You can quickly get in over your head if you don’t pay attention to how much you’re charging.
Start saving now. When you’re in college, saving is probably the last thing on your mind. You don’t have much money coming in, but still try to save. First, figure out your cash flow
Anticipate what’s on the horizon. When plotting out a monthly or even weekly budget you should be aware of any upcoming events, including holidays and birthdays. You can put aside money for that a little at a time. Likewise, like needing to purchase a plane ticket to fly home for the holidays.
Treat yourself. In a city like Delhi, there’s so much to do all the time, it can be easy to spend too much money in a single weekend. Allow yourself time with friends, dates or a treat yourself to a movie every once in a while. If you’re really stringent on your budget, you never have room for fun and entertainment, if you don’t put money aside to enjoy life, you will feel constraint and no sense of freedom.
Budgeting isn’t easy for anyone. This is especially true when you are just starting out in life. Thankfully, through trial and error, you will get to the point where budgeting comes easier. The tips listed above will get you heading in the right direction. Be sure to ask other people who manage their money well for any budget tips they might offer you as first time apartment renters. Contact us at Placio for more information on our college student housing.