Living independently as a student exposes you to some real-life lessons about survival and financial management. There might be instances when your situation would require you to cut off on your wants to make way for your needs. Financial management in college requires excellent budgeting skills.

Whether you’re an international student or studying in a city far from home, it’s crucial to prioritize spending essentials. For instance, a car loan for an international student might be something you want to put on top of your financial budgeting list. University expenses can add up quickly, so it’s best to plan and devise strategies to manage your finances better. To do this, you can apply the following financial management tips:

1. Save For Emergency Situations

financial management

The future is unknown, but students should prepare for it very well. Take note that you’re far from your family and have no one but yourself to get you by in hard times; it’s best to anticipate and save for emergencies. Open a savings account and store up an emergency fund.

There might be instances when you’ll need urgent cash. Therefore, these funds should be kept in accessible accounts that can be withdrawn easily, but it’s paramount that you only use them when incredibly necessary.

Aside from personal savings, you can also prepare for contingencies like availing of health and medical insurance. You’re never too young to start early in these types of investments. Your savings won’t have to be drained, and your parents won’t have to foot the bill if you’re stuck in an emergency.

2. Take Advantage Of Student Discounts And Privileges

One of the perks of being a student is that some establishments offer special prices or discounts. Maximizing these offers can be an excellent way to manage your finances. It is sometimes possible to get discounts or deals by being enrolled in college. For instance, there are scholarships for students who have lost a parent, have good academic records, or are family of veterans. Also, students have special prices in movie houses, online subscriptions, paid apps, and insurance.

It’s crucial to avail these benefits no matter how small the discount can be. Over time, it can help you save a large sum of money. However, it’s imperative to stick to your budget and only spend for your needs. While some companies offer student discounts, it also serves as an effective marketing strategy from a business perspective.

3. Set A Budget To Manage Your Finances

Budget for your personal expenses

Budgeting is the holy grail in financial management. As a student, you have too many expenses to consider. Setting financial goals and budgeting are essential skills for college students. You can start by creating a list of your needs every month.

Track your expenses, see which ones are excessive, and avoid overspending on unnecessary things. When budgeting, also include the income that you generate monthly. This will allow you to get a glimpse of how much is coming and how much is going out of your pocket.

Prioritize your living expenses, such as rent, food, tuition, and miscellaneous fees. Consider how much you are responsible for each month in living expenses. When you got them all covered, you can include some budget for your wants and hobbies too. What’s important is to keep your expenses balanced. Don’t forget to set aside some savings to have enough emergency funds.

4. Use Credit Cards Wisely

College students can start building their credit scores as early as possible. One way to do this is to avail of credit cards. It is much easier to carry a credit card than cash wherever you go. However, this financial convenience should come with a precaution. When uncontrolled, you might accumulate a large credit at the end of the month.

Because it is easy to purchase using a credit card, the temptation to swipe and purchase something is stronger than paying in cash. You could buy something based on impulse. Hence, it’s best to apply good spending habits. Be a responsible spender and only use your card for expenses that you need time to pay for.

Spending within your budget is important. And always pay your credit card bills on time to avoid interest and other fees. Don’t use your credit card for cash advances as much as possible, as banks usually have higher interest rates for this service.

5. Earn Money On The Side

How to earn money online as a teenager

It is beneficial to work while you are in college for several reasons. If you have excellent time management skills, you can start applying for a part-time job. Earning extra dough will cover more of your living expenses and allow you to splurge on things you want. For instance, you can save money to get the latest smartphone you’ve always wanted to have.

When you’re applying for side hustles, especially if they are in your field, it will also build your resume and experience. Your future employers would acknowledge any of your skills gained in these part-time jobs. When you find a good college job, you will easily manage your money and gain work experience.


Students can apply some of these personal finance basics to their lives. Financial management is something that you can master early on in your life. Start managing your money in college by following these tips, and you’ll reap amazing rewards later.

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