College finance survival guide

College can be a scary place, especially when you are absolutely broke. After a couple years of hitting and missing with my finances (and probably 10 or more bounced checks) I found a way to sort things out.

1. Make a list of things you HAVE to pay.
This includes: Rent, utility bills, car payments, credit card payments etc
When you get your paycheck or parent’s check, pay these things FIRST! Yes, you might be broke until your next paycheck, but at least you don’t have late bills.

2. Budgeting
I have a very loose budget right now. I give myself some wiggle room just in case I go over. I try not to set my budget by how much I make because if I use all of it, I don’t have any money left over.

3. Keep an outlook for emergencies
Something will happen eventually that you will have to shell out big bucks for. For example, I had to give $400 dollars out to buy new tires. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or something else be sure to have some extra give or a back up plan because these things WILL happen.

4. Make extra money here and there
Find a neighbor or friend that will be willing to give you some extra cash for doing things. If you’re good with computers see if they need some help with setting up theirs. Or find a nice woman that you could shovel her walk or mow her lawn.

5. Get a Job
If you REALLY need extra money get a part time job, McDonald’s is always hiring

6. Fast CASH
Going to payday loans is not the best idea. If you are in DIRE need of money there are a few things you can do. Donate plasma. Of course doing this all the time can be hazardous for your health so use accordingly. Selling items on ebay can give you cash but it might take a while for you to get a check. Pawn shops are always a place that you can get fast cash as well, especially if you want to get the item back. Have a garage sale. Someone wants your stuff, not mattter what it is. This can also count: bake sales and such. Ask your family, including parents and grandparents. Dig in your couch cushions for spare change.

7. Cut down
Going out every night can have a hefty impact on your wallet. Cut down on expensive unnecessary items. For example, going to Starbucks everyday. Cut it down to once or twice a week. ALCOHOL is expensive. It’s cheaper to go to the liquor store and stay home. Cut down on unnecessary road trips. Gas is expensive. Have your friends chip in.

You can live without food for 3 weeks if you have water. If you are really hungry find a church function. They sometimes have pot lucks and you meet some cool people. You may just have to settle down in your partying lifestyle and spend a few weekends at home. Usually if you tell your friends you are broke they might pay for you until you get back on your feet. Just remember that when they are broke show the same courtesy.

College is a hard time and at one point or another you might be broke. Just remember it will all be worth it when it’s over!