As an “independent college student”, my parents give me a certain amount of money that I must use for the whole month. No more, no less! This is why I have to make sure that I save money not only for my own personal use, but for emergency purposes as well. This is one of the hardest part of being an independent college student.
Well here are some of the tips that I can share to you college dudes, independent not:
Let’s start the steps upon getting your monthly allowance. Let’s say you received your monthly allowance for your everyday expenses, utilities, dorm rentals (if you are staying in a dorm) and the likes.
Step 1: Have your own budget planner/tracker:
If you have a planner for your schedule, you also should have a planner for your monthly budget. You should always keep track of your inflows and outflows. It may be difficult to do it at first and you may forget to track them religiously. Just be consistent and everything will be easy for you. Write your monthly allowance as your starting money.
Step 2: Determine your own expenses and prioritize!
Now as a college student who lives independently, you should know what your expenses are and the expenses needed to be prioritized. Determine your average water and electricity consumption as well as your average food and transportation expense so that you can allot a certain amount of money for it.
I categorize my expenses into three codes: Red (UTMOST PRIORITY), yellow (PRIORITY) and green (EXTRA).
- Code Red:
- Electricity bills
- Water bills
- Dormitory rental
- Food expense
- Code Yellow:
- School supplies
- Phone credits
- Code Green:
- Personal expenses (Clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.)
Step 3: Have a money organizer
This is one of the must do for us students! Always have a money organizer with you. Separate them accordingly. What I do is that, there is a certain “expense” placed in every pocket of the organizer. That way, I won’t get too much or too little for a certain expense. By the way, it is best to put only “enough” money for one day. It that way, you will be able to monitor how much money you spend a day. This will hinder you from overspending as well!
Step 4: Don’t shop upon getting your allowance
It’s okay to shop during paydays but that is if you are spending the “extra” cash you had from the previous month and not the allowance you just received! Please don’t do the same mistake I did before which lead me to being broke. Remember the “code green”? That is my “personal expense” category which I only use every end of the month or I add to my savings (bank). You should also do the same!
Step 5: Don’t spend “extra” money carelessly
You will always have ”extra” money from the expenses you have apart from the Code Green that you have (eg. Change/excess from your code red and code yellow expenses). Don’t spend it at once! Try to add that to Code Green or “Personal expense” pocket in your organizer. I guarantee, you will get shocked by the end of the month after seeing how much money you have for yourself.
Optional but advisable step: READ AND READ!
Just like what you are doing now, it is very advisable to read and read books especially about financial literacy. Just recently, I read a book by Mr. Don Soriano entitled Break Free, which really motivated me more to save for the future. You see, reading a lot of articles or watching financial education films will really open your mind and give you a mature understanding and mindset about money. It will also give you more ideas, tricks and tips on how to manage your money more. Start as young as you can!