Varisity and student life is exciting and challenging, but with it come lessons in money management. Personal finance is not rocket science; you just have to know how it works. Having recently graduated with a bachelors degree in accounting, during my time at varsity I discovered how to make those pennies stretch beyond the end of the month.
Now that you’re on your own at varsity, you might be tempted to spend your money on the things your parents wouldn’t let you have. Take it easy. If you play it smart, you can avoid the sort of money troubles that plague many young adults.
- Pay your tithe. The Bible clearly states that the more you give, the more you will receive. This is a divine principle – which really works! It is important to return tithe with a willing heart and God will pour out His blessings on you. I have experienced this personally and have been bless abundantly as a result.
- Don’t get a credit card and avoid non-academic debt. Rather focus on developing money skills with cash. Worry about credit later.
- Pay your bills as they arrive, then you won’t forget about them.
Organization and Planning
Minimal organization will keep your finances in order. Each of these is an important financial skill:
- Track your spending. Good records will prevent you from getting overdrawn at the bank or exceeding your credit limit.
- Create a budget and stick to it. At the beginning of the month, estimate how much money you’ll receive and then decide where it needs to go. Start saving about 10% of what you earn and you will be amazed at how far the 90% can go.
- Save your receipts. Put them in a shoebox under your bed if you must, but hold onto them. You’ll need to be able to compare them with statements to help track your spending.
It seems like there are countless things competing for your money. It’s hard to know what to do. Here are some smart ways to save money on campus.
- Buy used textbooks. You’re going to sell most of them at the end of the semester. Just keep the ones you really need.
- Live without a car. Learn to use mass/public transport. Find a friend who has a car.
- Don’t hang out with big spenders. Some kids have parents with deep pockets. Hanging out with them can lead you to spend more than you can afford.
- Take advantage of campus activities. Attend free movie festivals. Pay a few bucks to see the symphony every month. Attend campus functions. Get the most out of your student ID!
Decision making and Making Money
Get into the habit of making smart choices now and you’ll develop a pattern of behaviour that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
- When you want to buy something, ask yourself, “Do I NEED it?” Don’t buy on impulse.
- Spend less that you earn. Don’t earn much? Then don’t spend much.
- Learn to invest. Start making regular investments.
I think if you work through these tips and make them part of your daily routine you will be surprised at how far you can make your money stretch at varsity. Remember, your personal finances affect the way you live now and how you’ll live in the future.