3 Essential Financial Tips for College Students

By Brittany Gibson on July 22, 2017

If you’re in college, chances are you don’t have much time to make money. Sure, a side job at a local coffee shop helps, but without a full-time job bills add up and get tough to pay. This is especially true if your parents aren’t financially supporting you.

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Living in a city, life gets expensive. I’m fortunate enough to have my father pay half my rent, but even then I am left with electric, Wi-Fi, car payments, credit card bills, doctor bills, and other expenses. So how do you balance getting a quality education and being able to pay all of your bills (on time)?

I’m still in the process of finding the perfect medium, but here’s what I have found to be successful so far:

1. Accept the fact you’re not going to be a millionaire while you’re in college. Acceptance is the first step. Let’s be realistic, the chances of you making a six figure income while you’re a student is unlikely, and school is your priority right now. Most people have been in your shoes at one point; you’re not expected to have much in your early 20s anyway. It’s OK.

2. Find a flexible, part-time job. If you are taking classes during the day, find a nighttime job (or vice versa). I’ve waitressed for four years now, but I would highly suggest a less stressful job while you’re in school. Firstly, the restaurant industry is time-consuming enough as it is. You don’t need the extra stress of cramming all of your school work last minute after working until midnight.

Regardless, before accepting any type of part-time job, make sure the hiring manager knows that you’re a student and can’t work past a certain time each night. This way, you’ll leave yourself enough time to do homework and study. Cashiering at a grocery store, being a barista at a coffee shop, or working in retail are some other great options. By working these types of jobs, you’re (usually) guaranteed to get out at a certain time.

3. Download a budgeting app. This really helped me realize how awful my spending habits were. I downloaded an app called Mint, which reminds me when my bills are due, shows me all of my recent transactions, how much I’ve been spending and on what, how much money I have vs. how much debt I owe, etc.

The only downside of this is that you need to give all of your financial information to this app, including credit card numbers and bank passwords. So far I haven’t encountered any security issues. Financial awareness is essential in your 20s.

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