“The poor campus student” is less of a stereotype and more of a reality for many students. Others receive money and spend it carelessly, causing them to be penniless as quickly as they received the money. Here are a few tips on balancing your college budget.
1. Protect Your Information
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Living on campus is not the same as your parents’ home. Safeguard your identity by leaving your credit cards, debit cards, and passport in a lock box or another secure place that only you have access to. Do not leave bank account information and social security numbers out in plain sight where anyone can write down your information and steal your identity.
2. Take Advantage of Scholarships
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Student loan debt is no joke. Many people are left with “mikopo” debts up to 25 years after graduation. Talk to your college’s or university’s financial aid department to see if you are eligible for any scholarships or grants. Also, check an array of scholarship listings on popular sites available. Unlike loans, you do not have to pay back the money received from scholarships and grants.
3. Spend half, save half.
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Our elders gave us good advice about saving half of our money. If you save half of the money you receive, you will never have to be out of funds when you really need something important. Even if you are one of the fortunate college students who receive money from home every few weeks, it is better to have emergency funds and save them then to need money and not have it.
4. Do not spend money on things you do not need.
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A lot of campus students enjoy activities that cost money such as parties and sporting events, however, it is wise not to spend money going to these events if there are more important matters to handle such as buying books and school supplies.
If your budget allows you to attend these events, it is still unwise to buy VIP tickets and bottle service at the club. You are a college student, not an A-list celebrity. You will be looking for the money you’ve spent later.
5. Check your account balance
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Overdraft fees from your bank can be pricey and cause you lose money as soon as you receive it; check your bank account daily to ensure you are not spending money that you do not have and will pay for later.
6. Student Discounts
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Movie theaters such as Student Thursdays at Century Cinemax, TTCL Boom packs; Airtel UNI bundles, and many more offers are just a few of many businesses that offer college students discounts. Some banks offer free checking accounts to students and many auto insurance companies offer discounts to students with good grades. Researching offers in your area might save you hundreds of shillings yearly.
7. Be Smart About Credit Cards
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Credit card companies gravitate marketing toward college students, assuming that they will sign up for these cards. Here are some truths about credit cards. A credit card is not free money; you will have a balance to pay at the end of the month. Unpaid credit cards lead to high interest rates and low credit scores.
Ashton Kutcher summarized it best on the 2011 Teen Choice Awards, “Here’s the best piece of advice I ever got when I was a teenager. Don’t ever charge anything on a credit card if you don’t already have the money in the bank to pay for it.”
Regardless of your financial need or economic background, balancing a college budget is essential for every student. Start early so you can save yourself the headache many graduate students create later.