The average college student has enough to deal with on a normal basis. Amongst the obvious, such as socializing, making time for homework, and getting enough sleep to function properly, there is also the constantly overbearing issue of money hanging over our heads.
Whether that be trying to manage not frivolously spending or attempting to keep enough money as a safety net for food, other necessities, and unexpected expenses as required throughout the week. But how savvy do we need to be to manage our money?
With student debt from credit cards and impending loans, there is a lot to keep cognizant of during the weeks to ensure that we’re keeping enough money tucked away for the basic requirements.
For many students, we’re juggling our money between many different outlets. A monthly phone bill here, an unsubsidized student loan there, and all of the miniature transactions in between for the day-to-day can sometimes be too difficult to handle along with copious amounts of schoolwork and other things we devote our lives to.
To add to the difficulty of this task of saving, students are usually in this endeavor alone, minus a few who have their parent’s assistance. For those who do not have the guidance of an adult in their spending/ saving ratio, the lure of buying things when money should probably be saved for the bill due in two day’s time becomes very enticing.
In my three years of living at UNCG without my parents watching my accounts and yelling when the numbers get too low, I’ve found my own blend of managing my money while occasionally breaking that to buy other things as well.
For me, I have multiple jobs, three different positions at one Harris Teeter location back at home and one on campus, which I utilize constantly. While I have these jobs, I always keep an eye on my account to ensure that my funds never get too low.
This practice, though, comes from experience; I have drained my account on numerous occasions and regretted my decisions immediately. Most of these situations arose from buying something impulsively and then having to pay bills and my student debt only days after I purchased the items.
Since my more naïve days of spending, I have learned to keep a minimum amount in my account at all times to both prevent me from spending it all, while ensuring I have a little in case of emergency. I’ve also learned to section off certain funds specifically for my impulsive spending feats, so I cannot unknowingly spend it all at once. Limiting myself in the amount of times I transfer money in my account is another habit that I’ve gotten used to doing.
Among all of these practices, never were any of them taught to me. Either I learned the hard way or I picked up on common sense means to keep my funds from the red zone. Something that could hugely affect the new population of students arriving at college would be to have guidance in this department through the school.
Since most freshmen are brand new or at least relatively new to being on their own, most aren’t sure how to properly maintain their funds, especially since being off a parent’s watch can provoke many desires to the surface.
Having on-campus help might mean a separate function of the financial aid office to specialize in assisting students with their money would make life much easier on students, so then they could focus more on their grades then how much money they spent on clothes yesterday and noticing that they can’t afford meals now.
As I have already experienced my own mistakes in that manner, I was able to bounce back relatively easy due to the amount of work I take up to refill my funds. However, unlike my situation of constantly working to keep my accounts in the positive, I know that finding a job and working is not possible for everyone.
Whether that is due to not being able to find a job that suits specific hours or simply because trying to juggle that job would be tremendously difficult to manage along with schoolwork, the constant flow of money that I’ve secured for myself is not available for everyone.
In this regard, having another person to keep in contact with that can look at the funds a student is working with and recommend to them a few options that would let them have their fun while being mindful of their expenses at the same time would be a great investment.
Simply having someone there as a guide to these alternative choices could be largely beneficial as well as practical since the payments for student debts could also be monitored thus preventing scarier moments later on in their college career when they will need to consider paying off their debt before it accumulates too high.