Tips to Manage Money in College

College is not only the period in your life when you really need to learn how to manage time, but it’s also the period when you learn to manage money. When you’re coming straight from life at home, where you don’t have to pay rent, utilities, or for supplies and food (thanks mom and dad) and are shoved into self-dependency, times could feel rough. If you’re living off the check grandpa sent you last week, a meal plan (for the lucky ones), and your last paycheck from your summer job at the ice cream stand, breathe!

With my Kardashian-like spending habits except scaled down to Chipotle and Forever 21, I normally found myself just pennies away from over drafting. Don’t be freshman me! If you’re trying to effectively save cash and manage money, check out these tips I put together for you. By Christmas break, you’ll be rolling in the dough, or at least not crying to mom on the phone that you can’t even afford a 7/11 coffee.

Sell Your Clothes

manage money

Don’t lie to yourself, you’re never going to wear that sweater. And those clothes your mom got you for your birthday? The ones exactly the opposite of your style? Get rid of ‘em. Round up all of the clothes, shoes and accessories you don’t need and take them to your nearest thrift store or consignment store. Depending on the quality, brand and timeliness of what you’re selling, you could make a pretty good amount. Don’t have any good thrift stores or consignment stores near you? Sell them online or on your phone. Check out apps like Vinted and Poshmark which allow you to sell or even trade your things at a whatever price you want!

Save Your Change

manage money

It seems pretty intuitive to pay the amount owed with as much change as possible. Who likes lugging pennies around? For instance, if you owe $1.50, it seems easier to just pay that exactly, if you have change, than to pay $2.00 and get $0.50 back. Well, I’m here to tell you differently. Start saving by paying the amount in whole dollar bills and keeping your change. $0.75 here, $0.44 there, you’ll have a whole piggy bank full in no time! Take it to your bank or a Coinstar machine. Therefore, when you’re running low on cash and you need a bottle of vod… chocolate milk for the weekend, you’ll be set!

Use Money Apps

manage money

Due to some of us just swiping our credit cards and looking the other way, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re spending money on. Luckily, some people teamed up with some computer guys and created an app to make our lives a little easier. The app Mint is free to all. It allows you to connect your accounts to it, set budgets and then it tracks your spending. Other apps, like Acorns, help you learn how to invest your money. Sounds pretty grown up, no? In the end you’ll be more aware of your spending and learn better saving tactics. Yay!

Sell Your Books

manage money

Finally, the end of the semester is coming to a close sooner than we think. Unless you need to keep them, textbooks can easily be sold. Depending on the condition, original price and edition, you can sell your no longer needed books. The price is pretty good, too. and both have really easy to understand buyback options for books. No excuses!

Most of all, I hope these tips help you manage money during college! I know they have helped me over the years. Did we miss anything? Drop us a comment below!

Moving After Graduation

It’s bad enough to know that after graduation, everything is going to change.  Wait, I won’t be able to walk to my friends’ rooms anymore?  Already made food isn’t a 100m walk and swipe away? I can’t choose my schedule each semester? Paying rent isn’t once every four months? Once graduation hits, life as we know it changes, but how much has to change?

Where you live after graduation is based on so many different factors:

Can you live with family?

Are there jobs in your field in your area?

Can you commute to an area that has jobs?

Can you afford the commute?

Will you be finding an apartment?

Will you have roommates?

Do you have the guts to move away to a place you don’t know anyone?

There are so many things to think about, it can be overwhelming.  Forget can be, it will be overwhelming.

Depending on your field and your luck in the opportunities available near the place you’ll be living, moving could make most sense for your resume and career.  Although finances is the biggest factor in moving, what you might not realize is that moving could benefit your career more than staying home and settling for a job lower than your qualifications.

Living with family might not be ideal, but it usually makes most sense financially.  There are a few ways to get out of your house without breaking the bank though:

– Residencies:  Some internship opportunities will provide housing, utilities and provide food stipends. These jobs won’t build your savings account, but your expenses will the low to say the least.  Residencies also give you a great way to test out a job, as you would be focused on your career without distraction.  Residencies usually last six months to a year.

– Fellowships:  Fellowships can be found domestic and international.  They provide incredible opportunities and will give you an experience like none other.  Benefits vary, but fellows are often provided with full access to events and sources like a regularly employed person.

Aside from these opportunities, internships abroad is another way to go, but unfortunately, the safest way to intern abroad is through a program, and many programs overcharge.  Also, internships abroad provide a false sense that your experience abroad will be superior to an experience in a different part of theUnited States.

When you are choosing which path to take, my best advice: do whatever is best for you, not anyone else.  Balance short-term sacrifice and benefits with long-term.  The world is wide open to you, but you have to decide to go out and knock on doors because no one will come to you with a job.  Figure out what you want and don’t be afraid to go out and get it.

Considering Changing Your Major?

College is a time of change, discovery and exploration so it naturally follows that 6 out of every 9 students changes their major at least once.  For some it is easier than others.  For example, if you start out as a psychology major and switch to mechanical engineering mid-way through junior year, you will effectively be starting over.  Changing a major can be expensive and time-consuming so it’s worth weighing carefully but for some it is absolutely the right choice. Struggling through two years of coursework to get to a great career is one thing, but grinning and bearing it through poorly suited coursework to get to a mediocre career is a whole other ball game.  I tortured my upper-class friends in the months before I had to choose my major, ensnaring them with promises of Goldfish crackers and  Red Bull in my room, then plying them for advice on classes and majors.  Some gems that came out of my mouth during this period:

Maybe I should major in politics!  I hate politics and I can figure out exactly why it annoys me so much!

Who wants to sit around and think all day?  How is that useful?  I’d bet philosophy sucks.  You’re a phi major—does it suck?

I know, queen of tact over here.  Luckily my friends are not easily offended. I latched onto Art History early in the semester before I had to decide, sophomore fall.  One calendar week before declaring I saw a movie, Exit Through a Gift Shop that confirmed a nagging feeling in my stomach that I don’t really ‘believe’ in the value of learning to interpret art enough to devote two years of my time to it.  A similar experience can happen with almost any major, whether you realize a year into your pre-med courses that you’re going to be doing A LOT of unexciting memorization of the composition of things you can’t see, to discovering that pre-law comes with a lot of tedious reading and cutthroat competition at every stage in the game.  As much homework as I had put into researching my major, at the last minute I changed.  I consider myself lucky.  What if you don’t realize in time?  What facts should you consider?

  • Change in financial aid: There are specific scholarships and grants offered by colleges and universities for students who are enrolled in specific programs. If students are receiving one of these scholarships and change their major, they run the risk of losing the financial aid or receiving a smaller award.
  • Added time (read: expense) in school, costing in both credit hours and lost earning potential.
  • Unmatched skill set.  Are you struggling to pass the requirements for your major?  Many universities will give you an overall GPA and a departmental GPA that can hurt your resume in your field of choice.
  • Wasted credits.  Can you put those credits not applicable to the major you want to change to towards a minor?
  • Passion for the subject.  Warning flags you should be on the watch for: dreading classes that fulfill your major’s requirements, continually researching other majors, a nagging feeling that you’re not doing what you really want to do.
  • You fell into your major.  Did you pick the major because it was the path of least resistance?  i.e., your English classes came easily to you so you concluded that it would be good to be an English major.  This might not necessarily be the case, and the cause of that nagging feeling that you’re in the wrong major.
  • Career choices.  Are they too narrow?  Are you worried that your major isn’t what your future employers won’t be looking for? Consider that your choice in  major might not have as big an effect on future careers as you think, as the blurb below from Suite101 addresses.

“Before changing your major to increase your career potential,  find out if your major actually is incompatible with your career goals. . . instead of changing your major, you might just need to get someinternships in your field of interest. ” – Suite 101

It may mean some extra work at a busy time in your life, but considering your options carefully and doing some ‘homework’ on the topic can be a real game-changer (thank you election cycle of 2000 for making that a buzz word).  Best of luck and thanks for reading.

I’m reading Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology



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