Reader Question: College Budget

Hey everyone! Recently, I’ve been getting several e-mails from readers about questions that they have. While I would love to think that I know everything, I know that if I post a question onto my blog, that we can get a lot more answers, which may be more helpful than what I can say in one e-mail.

I recently received one that I thought could be applied all around, whether you’re in college or just trying to save money and spend wisely, and I thought it would be a great fit for a blog post. Hopefully I can turn reader questions into a series here on my blog.

Anyways, I’ll let the reader take it away:

Hi Michelle, I had emailed you a few months ago about a good monthly food budget for a college student – thanks for the help. Anyways, I was just wondering if you had any more tips on how to save money in college. I’ll admit, I am a big time spender while I am at school, because for some reason I think college is the time to do everything my heart desires (i.e. go to that concert, buy that silt blouse from J. Crew, etc.) You could argue a lot of it is money spent unwisely. And to be honest, I’ve already started accumulating a little bit of debt from it all…and I’m afraid if I don’t do anything about it I’m going to be some serious debt after college.
Is there anything you wished you would have known while in school? Advice or any tips for a college student as me?
It’s just that I’m moving in my first apartment with three other roommates this coming fall, and I know I’m going to have to make a lot of my own financial decisions and any tips or advice from anyone is great to hear.
Thanks!

This is what I replied with:

I would say that if you could or have time, try to find a way to pay for these things. And if you can’t control your spending, then DO NOT work in retail. Yes, the discount is nice, but this is something that majorly hurt me while in college. I worked full-time in retail and spent a TON of money on the clothes from the store that I worked at.

Also, try not to put clothing on credit cards. If you aren’t paying a monthly payment (the full amount), then you might be paying $200 (with interest included) for a $50 shirt. And that’s just insane! I like to think about how long I had to work to get that shirt I want to buy. Are those pants really worth 3 hours of me working?

I tried to keep my answer short, in order to not overwhelm the e-mailer. Of course I could go on and on and on I would love for you all to help and give us your thoughts! I didn’t want to share her identity, but maybe she’ll come out if any of you have answers for her as well.

Also, I scoured the web and tried to find some articles that may be of help. I found probably 1,000,000 articles, and tried to sort through them. Below are also some articles/resources for college budgets:

  1. 44 Healthy Foods Under $1 – This is a list of 44 healthy foods with their average cost per serving.

  2. Eating on a College Student’s Budget – Tips on how to save money on a small grocery budget.

  3. Budget Bytes – Possibly my most favorite website ever. If you’ve never been to this website, then you do not live on earth.

  4. College Budget Recipes – Tons of recipes for those on a small budget.

  5. What Does a College Budget Look Like? – 2 families and their budgets. I am not saving that these are great budgets though.

  6. College budget 101: Get your child on track – Tips on college budgets and strategies.

  7. How much should I budget for college living expenses? – A calculator to help you figure out your budget.

  8. The Hidden Costs of College and How to Budget for Them – Be prepared for college expenses that you didn’t think of!

  9. Average cost of four-year university up 15% – Tuition keeps rising, so try to save money when and where you can.

  10. 118 Ways to Save Money in College – A very long and FANTASTIC list of different areas that you could be saving money in.

  11. My Plan to Save a LOT of Money – This isn’t about a college budget. But Jen is trying to save as much money as she can right now, and has great tips.

If you have any questions that you would like me or my readers to answer, please e-mail or comment below.You can remain anonymous as well if you would like.

#Budget #School

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