How to Manage Money in College

How to Manage Money in College
Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

In Season 2, Episode 12, of the STEAM Boston Podcast, we talk about you can manage money while in college.

Disclaimer: The financial and career advice information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage to consult with the appropriate professionals.

Audio Transcript

Are you a college student, high school student, or even a young professional? Are you striving for financial independence? In this podcast episode, we’ll talk about the benefits of keeping a budget and the benefits of becoming a Resident Assistant on campus.

Will talks about personal finance for college students and keeping a budget [1:45]

  • Start with a budget. This is the must-have tool for sound money management. A budget will help you get your priorities straight on spending: If you struggle to pay rent, but find yourself video game shopping every weekend on credit, you need a budget!

All budgets should have three basic elements:

Income: the money you have coming in—from a job, your parents, etc.

Expenses: the money that goes out for everything from food and rent to tuition and books, depending on your situation.

What’s left: Funds that you can save, invest… or buy Korean Fried Chicken.

Korean Fried Chicken

Sometimes it’s okay to splurge on Korean Fried Chicken.

Will talks about you can save on housing for college with Marcus [3:15]

If you live in the dorms or rent an apartment, your living arrangement will be one of your biggest expenses. So, if possible, consider cutting it completely and keep living with your parents until you graduate and get a full-time job. If that’s not an option, consider living with additional roommates or in a more budget-friendly neighborhood.

Will and Marcus talk benefits of becoming a Resident Assistant [3:26]

This job comes with more perks than just the fancy title. If you are a college student living on-campus or off-campus, you may be aware that your living arrangement is one of the most significant expenses on your list to worry about. This job as a Resident Assistant could be that stress-relieving solution you need. This opportunity could serve to save you a considerable amount of money on living arrangements and food.

Going through the proper steps to apply, if you are fortunate enough to get the job, you are provided with the following tremendously helpful benefits:

  1. Getting Free or Discounted Room and Board
  2. Developing of Leadership Experience
  3. Having a Room to Yourself
  4. Meeting New People
  5. Gaining Valuable Job Experience
  6. Learning Time Management Skills

Will and Marcus talks about how you can save on textbooks for college [6:24]

Instead of buying the textbook, rent it online either through Amazon Textbooks or Chegg. Chegg is ranked very highly amongst the college student community, given that not only can you rent an otherwise expensive book for cheap, but you also have access to the book online for free for the first two weeks as you await the book’s arrival in the mail.

This would be perfect for late bloomers, or those who are late in the game to acquire all their books for the upcoming semester. No more wondering how you’ll stay caught up with the assignments. Stay one step ahead by weighing all your options for getting your books this year.

College Textbooks STEAM Boston

Will and Marcus talk building credit in while in college [6:24]

Consider a credit card. When I was in college, I signed up for a Discover student cashback credit card. And now it’s one of the best cashback credit cards in the market. You’re able to save and get money back, and there are no annual fees, it has low-interest rates, and it’s just amazing you’re ready to get food and gas and a lot of benefits through a student credit card.

We only suggest that you get credit cards when you’re in college if you are financially responsible. If you are one of those who just go out and buy random things like a brand new 50 inch TV when you don’t need it, I do not suggest that you get a credit card.

Morning Brew STEAM Boston
Morning Brew on Unsplash

Will and Marcus talk building savings prior to graduation [10:45] 

Before you turn the tassel, have a savings built up to help make your transition from college to the real world a smoother process. We suggests students have at least six months worth of expenses in an emergency fund. A solid amount of money squared away ensures that you’ll have enough to live on should you not find a job right away.

Will and Marcus talk part time employment while in college [11:50] 

Working a part-time job in college, I worked a part-time job in college, and it’s called a work-study. I was able to use that work to study money to buy lunch every day. It’s a good thing to build up savings during college, and part-time employment can help you with that.—Yeah having part-time employment has several benefits. When I was a senior in college I was an RA, as I mentioned before, worked part-time at a credit union in Lowell, and I also was a full-time student, but this part-time opportunity gave me the chance to buy the things that I wanted.

Part Time Job

Will and Marcus talk wants vs. needs [13:34]

So needs are items like food, clothing, shelter, and utilities. Sometimes in college, you don’t want to spend that money on the most expensive Macbook cause you might not need it. Consider wants vs. needs, because you don’t want your bank account going to low levels. Wants are nice to have but aren’t necessary for survival.

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