How to Budget Your Way Through College (Part 1)

If you’re a college student chances are you’re broke. Or maybe you have money saved up, but you know it’s about to go towards books and tuition so in the near future you’ll be broke. As a college student you might as well have zero dollars in your bank account at all times.

If you’re parents are paying or helping you pay for your college, then I may be slightly jealous, but this post still relates to you. There will come a time in your life where you’ll have to stop relying on your parents for things. For some, like me, this may have happened at 16-18, for others it may be after you graduate college and acquire a steady job.

Although I do have to pay for my tuition, along with many other things, I am still living at home rent free. Attending community college was a choice I did for my bank account and sanity. I can assure you that it wasn’t because I can’t bear to leave my parents, or the town where everyone knows everyone.

Here are some tips and tricks that help me save to avoid student loans and mountains of debt after graduation.

1. Work! I know, it seems pretty obvious, right? The amount of students not working while at school though is large. To many students it seems impossible to manage your classes and homework load not to mention working on the side.  However, if you learn to manage your time you can still get A’s and earn a little extra cash. Find a job that works well with your schedule, and communicate with them what you believe you can handle. An on campus job is probably the best route if possible. Even if it’s 5 hours a week, at 9 dollars an hour that’s $45 you didn’t have before.

As a full time student, I am able to nanny about 6 hours a week, and work about 20 hours a week. Sure, I usually am pretty busy, but I find time to do the things I enjoy.

2. Give yourself a percentage. If you have a job, give yourself a percentage of every paycheck for spending. 20% of every paycheck is for spending, and the 80% goes straight to savings.

3. Stop your pointless spending. Who doesn’t love a cup of Joe in the morning to kick us into gear? It’s amazing how quickly the money you’re spending on fru fru coffee adds up. I know, you’re probably thinking how could you possibly go without your Starbucks fix? I hate to break it to you, but coffee isn’t cheap at places like Starbucks and Biggby. Say you spend $4 at a coffee joint, 4 four times a week. That’s $16 dollars a week, $64 a month, and $768 a year.  If you limited it to once a week, you’d be saving $576 a year and probably would look forward to it more. For the other days of the week buy a 12 oz. bag of coffee grounds that usually are around $4, but make approximately 40 cups.

4. Write it out. It may seem tedious, but write down every dollar you make or spend and what you spend it on. It puts things into perspective. At the end of the month calculate it and figure out what you’ve earned that month. If you’re really inspired, look for things you can cut back on.

5. Give yourself goals. Things like “By the end of this month, I want to have $4,000 in my account.” Incentive is always helpful. Maybe it means no going out to dinner this month, or picking up a few extra shifts at work.

I hope someone finds one or more of these 5 simple tips helpful. They aren’t realistic to everyone, but maybe you can catch onto one and see if it helps you save.

Maybe you’re not saving for college, but a vacation or something different. Do you have any special tips or tricks to help you save? Let me know, I’m always open to suggestions and would love to hear from you!

Fellow Wonderers

If there’s one thing I struggle with; it’s catching myself wondering, worrying, and speculating what the future holds way too frequently.

What happens after college?

Desiring to know whom my husband is, when I’ll get married or even if I will get married.

Wondering what career I should embark upon.

Will I have money issues?

Am I going find a job out of college?

To all my fellow wonderers, being unsure is terrifying.

However, although frustrating; I’m slowly learning to be patient, to trust in God’s plan for my life, and that being aware and prepared for what the future holds is a good thing, but to appreciate the place I’m at now.

Busy Busy Bee

Change the oil.

Petsit.

Class.

Homework.

Birthday party.

Petsit again.

Work.

Sleep?

Get headlight fixed.

Study.

Babysit.

Work again.

Eat?

Workout.

Class again.

More homework.

Work.

Social life?

I’ve discovered my days have recently been filled to the brim, especially this past week or two.

Trying to keep up with all of it has been overwhelming, but also nice to be busy. To have a purpose.

However, I do miss my alone time. My blogging. My long showers. Reading. Binge watching a t.v. series.

When the days, weeks, or months get crazy busy what do you do to make room for alone time?  Or possibly time with your friends?

I’m looking forward to a more laid back week coming up, and ending it with a trip to the family cabin! 🙂

It’s Okay Not to Know

Firefighter, photographer, social case worker, teacher, hair dresser, architect, lawyer, judge, police officer, writer, mattress tester (best job ever right?), coast guard, coach.
All of these listed are phases I’ve gone through for career choices. All at different age levels, some more recent than others.

In my 18 years I haven’t decided what I want to do with my life, I have a few ideas but nothing set in stone. I’ve decided to go into communications because with that degree I can do a few different occupations I’m interested in.

What I’ve learned in the past year is that knowing when you’re 18 is so unrealistic. How am I, barely an adult, supposed to know what I want to do for the next 35 years?

For those who know, and actually stick to that major, good for you. That’s amazing and I’m slightly jealous.

To those who don’t, it’s okay! Chances are you’re going to change your major at least once in college anyway so why waste time and money on classes you don’t need? Why do something you won’t be happy with. Wait it out, one day, it will come to you, I promise.

We’re young adults and it’s sad that were pressured to have our life all figured out. We should be enjoying these years because once they’re gone they’re gone.

What has your experience been with career choices? Did you know right off the bat or did it take you awhile? Did you feel pressured to know? Feel free to share. 🙂

Complicated

As Seniors, we’re often asked what our plans are for the future. Where we’re going to college and what we plan on studying. Some have known the desires for their lives since the time most kids claim they want to be a princess or fireman-determined to make them reality. Yet others–like me, are clueless. Ideas have come and gone, but nothing has been locked down in the vault to stay.

When I first realized it was time to start figuring out my life, I was a wreck. I felt vulnerable, alone–like an unprepared child; being raised as an independent individual made this a foreign realm.

A month and a half-sixty two days-until I walk across the sweat induced track in my blue ripply gown, identical to my fellow 275 students and I still don’t know. I don’t know what’s in store for my future. Unaware of what’s to come, but I’m sure it’s complicated, like all my pointless high school relationships.

Surprisingly, I’m now okay with it, not knowing that is. Ask me two months ago and I would have cringed with the thought of telling another person that I haven’t decided. Now, I’ve accepted that I don’t know. Sometimes it’s the things that aren’t planned out that work out best.

I’m Lazy and I Know It

Tonight my mom frustratingly reminded me how lazy I am. My initial reaction was to raise my voice and show my annoyance (she’s not the easiest person for me to get along with) instead I simply agreed with her. I don’t deny that I’m lazy. In fact, I 100% agree that I am the epitome of lazy. One of my favorite things to say is “I’ll do it later.” (And I do) but she hates when I udder those words.  She wants to know why I don’t do it immediately.

And my answer is: because I’m seventeen, I only have 4 more months of childhood, I want the least amount of responsibilities possible while I still can. Because too soon I’ll be paying for college (all on my own), making decisions I surely don’t think I’m adequately prepared to make, and because who knows how many more years I’ll have the opportunity to “do it later.” One day I hope to be married and have kids and when that time in my life comes I know I’m going to have no other choice but to do it now.

So give me some space, give me a task and I’ll get it done. Don’t remind me ten times in the hour, I haven’t forgot. Let me savor these last few months of “childhood” while I can.