College Living on a Budget

If you’re paying for college expenses on your own but are having problems budgeting your money well, you’re not alone. Lots of students on their own for the first time struggle with how to budget their money without the help of their parents. But there are things you can do to make budgeting easier:

  • Try riding a bike. If you live on or near a college campus, you might consider riding a bike to class instead of driving. The amount of money you save in gas in a week – as well as campus parking fees – could easily be used as money toward books, food and other expenses.
  • Find inexpensive ways to entertain. Another way to cut corners on expenses is to think of ways to entertain yourself and your friends without spending too much money. For instance, instead of hanging out at the local movie theater, try going to the free campus movie nights. And instead of eating out every chance you get to avoid dorm food, consider eating out when local restaurants and fast-food chains offer college discounts.
  • Use the campus recreation center. Most campus recreation centers are included in your tuition costs, so instead of joining the lavish state-of-the-art gym in your city, try pumping iron on campus.
  • Try using coupons. There are so many websites available nowadays that offer coupons that there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of them. You can find discounts on food, clothing, entertainment and so much more by simply searching online. So try your hand at shopping the old-fashioned way with a few coupons and see your money supply grow.
  • Actually Create a Budget. If you work a job or have a steady stream of fixed cash coming from a loved one, it’s a good idea to create a budget so that you will know your monthly expenses in relation to the money you receive.

Make Your Money Work for You

Possibly the most important aspect of living on a budget is having discipline – such as being able to set a certain amount of money for entertainment and sticking to the budget.

About the Author

Stacey Bumpus

Stacey Bumpus holds both her Bachelor and Masters degrees in Communications. After spending years in corporate communications, she discovered freelancing was really her cup of tea and fell in love with finding and writing about the latest financial news. Now, providing news and tips about banking, mortgages, taxes (and even logging her own efforts to save for retirement), she's not only fulfilling her lifelong passion, but also helping others manage their finances responsibly.

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