Monday, August 4, 2008

Penny Pinching While In College

As everyone knows, college can be a time of tight expenses. With fees for books, rent, cars, food and other bills, keeping money in your pocket through your college years can be increasingly difficult.

There are many ways that one can keep money in the pocket, while at the same time paying all the other expenses that may come up through the year.

One of the best ways to do this is to set up a budget. It is quite simple, creating a budget involves knowing how much money you have coming in each month and how much money you have going out.

The goal of the budget is to balance it, or have more money coming in than going out.
First of all, you will have to set a budget schedule and determine where the money is coming in front. These could be things like student loans, scholarships, work-study funds, parents or money from a part time job.

Do this for the entire year, then divide it by the number of months in your budget, or the number of months you plan to be in school for the year. This will give you a figure that shows you your monthly income, which is the amount of money you can spend each month.

This brings us to the expenses part of the budget. Find out what your biggest expenses are, including your tuition and rent. Make sure to divide your tuition by the number of months in your budget. Then, add in the costs of school supplies and books. If you don’t know how much it will cost you each year or semester, then take an average. Don’t forget about food, utilities, gas, insurance and entertainment.

Now all you have to do is take your income, minus your expenses, and you will have your total free money each month. If it comes out to a negative number, then you have some problems and are going to have to start cutting costs.

One way to do this is to not drive to school but take the bus or other methods of public transit. This will save you on both gas and car insurance.

As well, don’t go for the name brand groceries and start looking at the generic items. They may not taste as good, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the greater good of the budget.

Another good way to save money is to buy second hand books for school, and get a roommate for your place, thereby cutting the rent in half. You can also not go out as much with friends and spend more time at home. It sucks, but again, the budget rules all and should be followed consistently.

Craig Baird is a professional writer with several years of experience as an editor, reporter and freelancer. Currently, when not writing, he spends his time hiking the mountains around his home in British Columbia. Craig has had a few short stories published, along with one novel. Drop him a line through his writer blog at

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