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College Student on a Budget

16 February 2018
Dineh Vidal
Many people steer away from college because financially it is a scary thing. It is an investment in yourself, and when spending more money than you earn on tuition, a person must still consider all the real-life things that are going to be owed. For example, the ordinary college freshman is no longer going to be worried about senior dues, or if their prom outfit is fly enough.

Now it’s time to worry about things you’ve never worried about, grocery shopping, buying books/access codes for school, making sure your rent is paid if you live off campus, and many more other things. Although many of these things may seem intimidating, college is the place where teenagers turn into adults, a place to learn, and a place to grow. And no one should be ashamed to look up YouTube on how to manage your money or read up on BLOG’s to educate yourself. In such a way you are sure not to overspend on that money you know is going to be needed down the line.

Spending much

Don’t catch me in Wal-Mart with an empty stomach, my whole check will be gone in a matter of minutes, and my cart will be filled with unnecessary snacks. Grocery shopping, yes grocery shopping, may sound simple enough. But if your mother or father did it for you, when it’s time to go on your own and buy the groceries for the next week or two, I promise you, the first time you will overspend. You will buy too many bags of chips, and that is how we get to the subject of freshman fifteen, but that’s a story for another time. Back to the topic, if you’ve never done it before, grocery shopping is hard, but it is something that is learned. As time goes on you will learn that some may need to make lists so you can go in get what you need and get out.

Also, something that doesn’t get enough hype from young people, couponing. It has saved me hundreds, literally. I can go to my local Kroger, or if you live in Texas, H-E-B, I have their app on my phone, I have the coupons clipped from the Sunday paper, and I have my list that I’ve been making all week, I’m ready to go. If this is too time-consuming for you, just having your list available will be a big help because you won’t be derailed and grab too many bags of pizza pockets, or honey buns, etc. At the end of the day, in my opinion, organization is vital.

One thing I didn’t have to deal with in High School that now takes my whole paycheck, is buying books/access codes, blue-books, scantrons, the whole shebang. Like, WOW! I took scantrons for granted in high school, and now these professors have me up in this bookstore buying some. Many freshmen or first-time college students may go to the bookstore thinking everything is all fine and dandy, when it’s not, go ahead and buy a book from the bookstore that is only $20 on Amazon. It may be a big mistake from many people that have no one to guide them in the right direction. Moral of the story is: the bookstore is the devil, even if you have Financial Aid and you’re thinking about using that money at the bookstore, don’t do it! That’s extra money you will receive with your refund if you get one. Many websites give if not free, then cheap PDFs of many books that a student may need. Also, there are other alternatives if you’re like me and like to keep the books that I need for my major, just get them used off of E-bay or Amazon.

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Learning how to manage your money to pay your rent, tuition, or both has to be one the most challenging things I have encountered financially. But one thing that I do, is in summer, spring, and winter break, I work so hard. I put in many, many hours at work. I work multiple jobs, and I save some money from each paycheck to cover my tuition.

Also, another brilliant thing to do would be to sign up for all the available scholarships, just take a week or so and type your little fingers off telling these companies why you are unique, or broke, or both. Also, never be ashamed to get help from the government, financial aid is here to help us get through college. If it weren’t for scholarships and financial assistance, I would not be able to attend college.

No matter what, if you think you may want to college, do it. It is easier said than done but it can be done. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, make yourself a better and smarter individual. Put yourself in a hard, or harder situation this way when that diploma is in your hand you will cherish it more than anything because it took hard work and you earned it!

Although the transition may be tough from being a kid to being an adult, it is real life. As long as you prepare yourself, you will be ok. We are humans, and we adapt to things eventually.

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