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Building a Smarter College Budget

Even while taking classes like Economics, many students find it hard to build a budget and manage their personal finances. Time and money are often scarce, and it can seem like a daunting task. Have no fear, Deserve is here with some simple tips to help you build a budget that works for you and how to save money and still have fun.

Figure Out A Budget – It’s always good to have a plan. An actual budget gives you a real look at your cash flow and helps keeps you accountable. You can find free budgeting templates and guidance to help get you started at sites like Veretex42, EveryDollar or the Federal Student Aid website.

Look At Monthly Charges – It’s easy to forget about services and plans that take a few bucks here and there every month. But it adds up. Are there apps or subscriptions you’re paying for that you don’t use? Are you using that gym membership or does the university gym offer a cheaper option? Do you really need that much from your phone/internet/data plan? Hit up libraries for books and movies for free. We bet you’ll find some areas where you can spend smarter and not feel like you’re giving up anything.

Eat In – A steady diet of eating out will most likely make you heavier and your wallet lighter. Cooking in your kitchen doesn’t just save money, it’s a great lifelong skill to have and you can still hang with your friends. Find some simple, delicious, budget and tummy friendly recipes at MyRecipes or BudgetBytes. Pizzadillas and Dragon Noodles anyone?

Buy Used, Refurbished or Generic – From college textbooks to cool clothes and stylish furnishings, college campuses are full of bookstores and thrift shops where you can score things for cheap (Plus, reusing means less waste in the environment). Generic brands often have very similar ingredients and materials as “high end” brands. Just without the fancy packaging and big price tag.

Student Discounts – Keep your student ID with you and keep your eyes open for places offering student discounts. There’s likely lots of them near campus. The Real Deal has a great list of businesses and websites that offer students some sweet savings.