18 credit hours, weekly exams, reading, papers- any college student reading these words understands the time-consuming workload it takes to achieve the degree of their choice. For this reason, living on campus in a dorm or apartment is very common and often necessary in balancing their schedules and managing their time the best they can. Balancing budgets and finding ways to save money as a full-time college student is even harder.
Having classes full-time Monday through Friday, the weekends are usually the best time for students to complete assignments and catch up in any other ways needed. This often makes working difficult to manage for any student, as there are only 24 hours in a day.
So the question once again arises: How can students save the money they have and best budget their spending? What are some simple ways to make an extra buck or two while managing 18 credit hours and anywhere between 3-6 hours of homework weekly?
What Is a Budget?
The transition from high school to college includes a major shift for most college students regarding financials and other adult-like responsibilities and duties. Most students in the US have to take out student loans and pay for car/health insurance, phone bills, and other small bills. Over time, however, these bills can add up.
Keeping track of one’s spending is crucial to living wisely and frugally.
Budgeting can look different for each student, but some basic tools that can help can be
- Keeping track of income vs. bills in either a planner or notebook of some sort: This will help create more awareness of one’s spending habits and expose the ways you may need to alter or change those habits
- Asking yourself questions like “Is this something I need or is it a want?” and “What is the short/long-term benefit of buying this?”: Asking these questions before buying a certain product will help a student decide whether or not whatever it is they want to spend money on at the moment is worth the cost
- Setting a weekly budget for spending: As a college student, going out with friends for food, coffee runs, concerts, shopping, etc. is completely understandable, and with healthy spending, boundaries can be feasible and possible.
Practical and Easy Ways to Earn Money As a Student
With a student’s education taking up the majority of their time, working an hourly job can be difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible to do. Depending on the student’s university, they may not even need to leave their campus to make money.
Work-study positions are becoming more and more prominent within colleges and universities. Schools are doing this because they need to meet students where they are at during the time-consuming and intense years of working towards a degree.
Possible Work-Study Positions
- Tutoring: Whether it’s through a family friend or through a student’s university academic department, tutoring is a great way to make some extra cash without having to put in 6-8 hour shifts somewhere else.
- Babysitting/Nannying: This can apply to boys and girls (boys, there’s a reason why so many girls do this). Doing something like this can be a once-a-week commitment or however much time a student can spare; this is another great option to earn some money without putting in long shifts.
- Internship: Every student is working toward a career of some sort. Use those skills to one’s own strength! Whether your major is business, education, music, biology, etc., college is the time to explore your soon-to-be career field. Search for potentially paid internships, gigs, and other opportunities that, either right off the bat or with time, bring in income. This is the time for students to put a foot in the door of whatever field they plan to go into ahead of time!
The 4-year and, for others, a longer span of time in getting an education is hard. The amount of time put into courses, let alone outside time for young adults to have a social life, makes time very precious and stretched in multiple directions.
However, there are ways that college students can manage their time, budgets, and social time to produce a well-balanced person during this time. Once students find this balance and sense of rhythm, they will find a much more enjoyable and less stressful lifestyle. A lifestyle that, hopefully, they can look back and see these years as the best years of their lives. Bringing growth, endurance, and memorable moments!
For tips on how to save money as a remote college student check out our article How to Save Money While Attending College Remotely.