It is about 6 weeks into the semester and you should be settled in and have a routine established. You have most likely made a late-night food run, experienced entertainment over the weekend, and maybe even attended a home football game. You have also had the flexibility to do things you’d like to do with little to no guidance from your parents. One of those areas that you have (or will start to have) control over is your money and how you choose to spend your money.
You are probably noticing how fast and how little it stretches without a plan. Money is one of the most challenging things to conquer. You will see that most of your spending will occur on entertainment (parties, events, and outings), food (food court, late nights, and groceries), and school related expenses (materials for presentations, decorating your room, and extracurricular activities).
How are you doing with your spending? Do you have money coming in or do you need to find creative ways to stretch the funds you have. Do you have money for the rest of the semester? Good, you are doing well and keep up the good spending practices. If you are running low on funds, you may need to implement one of the tactics below.
1. Know how much money you have and how long it needs to last. Look at the total and divide amongst the weeks and stay within those limits. Consider any one-time expenses, travel home, and things on your list of needs.
2. Limit food purchases. Food is an easy way to spend money without having anything to show for it. Daily Starbucks, late night Taco Bell, and everything in between adds up and now you do not have much to show for it. You have a meal plan that includes enough meals to address your appetite. Your meal plan may also have bucks to spend like cash on campus.
3. Look for FREE events on Campus. There are events held every week that are geared towards students and are free for students. You have to make the most out of your experience and there are usually free events for every interest.
4. Consider other events on-campus that are not free. Do you plan to join Greek Life, do you need to pay dues to a club or professional organization?
5. Plan events accordingly. Go to the football game, enjoy a show in the theater department, or participate in a service project. Just keep in mind that you may not be able to attend every game, donate financially, or get the best seats in the theater.
6. Save. It is never a bad idea to save for an emergency, a rainy day, or a possible Spring Break trip.