How to Manage Your College Living Expenses
Posted by Luulla Admin Tuesday 25 Apr 2017
No doubt that going to college is costly and if you're like majority of students, you're probably not flush with cash when you enroll at your university. Even though you might have a full-ride scholarship, you still need to be conscientious about living expenses as well as other hidden costs. Hence, today I've put together some useful ways I did during my college years! P.S If you're about to live with roommates, one of the biggest advantage is you guys are going to help each other split the cost!

1. Track your expenses
This might sound obvious but tracking your expenses is one of the crucial ways to budget and save money. This is due it creates financial awareness and you will know where your money goes or how you spend it. You will also know what habits you can change in order to make your money work for you. Sometimes your small daily expenses can make you blow your budget. In fact, if you don't know what your monthly expenses look like at all, you're at risk for living way above your means.

Mobile technology has made it easier than ever, all you need is download expenses tracking app and you can keep an eye on your money and spending.

2. Be smart about transportation
I totally get it if you want to impress your classmates with a flashy ride or your racecar-driving skills. But, if driving yourself into debt of car maintenance, insurance, parking fees or even expensive gas when there are cheaper options is just not a wise decision! If you're living at college hostels or somewhere nearby, just cycle or walk and treat it like an exercise. If its a little too far, you can always hop on your bike or grab a buss pass to get to classes. If you urge to drive to campus, set a carpool with classmates and split the gas money and parking permit fees.

3. Save on your food
Save on your food doesn't mean you don't have to eat and suffer gastric. Instead, try avoiding eating out unless it is necessary. This is due to spending $10 on campus at lunchtime quickly adds up your expenses. Prepare your lunch in the morning or the night before by cooking extra portion and throw in a container. In terms of groceries, you can actually save up a lot by buying generic products that sit right next to name brands and offer significant savings.
P.S being budget shouldn't prevent you from enjoying a great meal with your pals. You can always arrange a potluck, which everyone bring a dish, or even just an ingredient, to contribute to the meal.

4. Make division of expenses fair
If you're living together with a few friends, always make sure you all divide the expenses fairly. I always believe that everyone should pay for what they get. For instance, if you have the smallest room, when it comes time to pay the rent, you shouldn't automatically be stuck with an equal portion of the bill. Typically, it is considered fair to divide the rent by room size. Also, if someone is guilty of always leaving the lights or air conditioning on when no one is home, make sure you take that into account as well. You shouldn't always have to deal with unnecessary spikes in your utility bills because of a forgetful roommate. In order to avoid anyone paying more than they have to or even unnecessary arguments, make a rule that everyone notices and agrees to it.

5. Sign up for a more cost-effective cellphone plan
Speaking of electronics, make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck on your cell phone plan. Don't get tied up with a restrictive, expensive contract, either. According to Forbes, in these recent years, no-contract cell phone plans were growing in popularity, as more people reported satisfaction with the choice of freedom a no-contract plan offers.

6. Look for work
If you can manage a part-time job, then working 10-15 hours per week may be enough to cover your living expenses. Your take home pay could bring in $65 to $100 in per week that you weren't making before. You can either apply for a job on your favourite cafe, restaurant or even campus and your employer will be your school. If a set work schedule is difficult to manage, find odd jobs such as tutoring, a freelance photographer or even build some websites if you're familiar with html.

7. Plan for an internship
As you move through your college years, you'll find yourself eligible for one or more internships. Some are paid, others are not, while still others provide a stipend. Internship is also extremely crucial as it makes it possible for you to acquire knowledge that you otherwise would not get. Still, you need money - take on those internships that offer at least some compensations to help defer your expenses.

8. Recycle
If you're housemates have the tendency to drink beers, soft-drinks or even eat pizza. Those beer cans, bottles and cardboard are worth something! Throwing them out in the the trash is like throwing a fistful of dollars out the window of a moving car. Recycle those cans and bottles and receive cash from your grocery store. Take note: check your local laws before you make a trip - this perk only applies to certain states.