Budgeting and saving can seem daunting and sooo not fun, but managing finances effectively now not only sets a foundation for the future, but also reduces money-related stress and anxiety that can impact sleep, concentration and overall well-being. With the help of DISD Financial Guru Jackie Gloria, we’ve put together a list of tips and resources to help you manage master your finances and be a successful, well-slept student.
TIP 1: Budget, budget, budget
When you live on a budget, you are in control of your money. Identifying monthly expenses is the first step in creating a spending plan. Every dollar counts, so be sure you don’t overlook anything, including that $10 Netflix charge.
TIP 2: Write it Down
Everyone has their own way of organizing their budget. You can write it down on paper, create a spreadsheet, download an app or chisel it in stone. The Mint app by Intuit provides an easy-to-use budgeting tool that gives you the ability to track spending each month and compare it to previous months. It doesn’t matter how you organize your budget, but you must do it in a way that works best for you.
TIP 3: Free money is good money
Apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for. A simple Google search provides opportunities to apply for design-specific scholarships. Each application requires different information, but a written essay is most common. Visit our scholarships page on the DISD website for specific information. Click here for a list of the 10 best sites to search for scholarships. One caveat to keep in mind – you should never have to pay an application fee for a scholarship so avoid those that ask for a fee!
TIP 4: Start Small
Establish a good habit by making small loan payments while you are still in school, so you are ready when they go into repayment. Being informed about your loans and how they work is key. Learn about What to Know Before You Borrow & Repayment Planning and the 15 Ways to Deal With Your Debt.
TIP 5: Take Advantage of Student Perks
Amazon is typically the best place to find textbooks for a fair price, but it also offers great deals on school supplies, everyday household items and more. Students receive 50% off of a Prime membership, which offers free two-day shipping. Besides books, it’s safe to say a computer is the next most important tool as a student. A number of companies offer discounts on their computers for students including Dell, Apple and HP.
TIP 6: Back to Basics
Ditch the pricey lattes and invest in a good, old-fashioned coffee pot (not a pricey Keurig), a reusable water bottle, a lunch bag and a travel mug. Make your meals at home and bring them to campus. Cutting out three lattes a week adds up to $663 in savings every year!
TIP 7: Finish what you start
Repeating and dropping courses costs big money, so use your resources to create a plan of action. School counselors and advisers are available to help you navigate your academic plans. If you are struggling, schedule a time to chat with your professor. They want to see your success and assist you in any way they can. Take advantage of that.
TIP 8: Ignorance is not bliss
Unfortunately, credit is something not nearly enough of us know enough about, as proven by this Nerd Wallet Survey. Don’t feel bad; but don’t continue being ignorant and unaware. Learn about credit, check your credit score and always be aware of it as your credit will have huge implications on your future. Sign up with Mint or Credit Karma to stay on top of your credit score.
Between managing coursework, working a job and trying to have a social life, being a student is not easy. However, not creating a budget and tracking your money properly will just make your life even more difficult. Implement these eight simple tips and we guarantee your life will be far less stressful and give you the energy to focus entirely on the things that truly matter!