Do you have something you have been considering purchasing for a while, but you’re not sure how to afford it? Forecasting expenses is a great way to be able to afford the things you want. In addition to forecasting expenses, figuring out ways to add to your income can be equally as important. Establish habits now that will help your financial future. You will greatly appreciate these habits as you move into your career.
Set yourself up for success by anticipating larger expenses. Establishing SMART goals will help you develop a plan to be able to afford the things you want, like a spring break trip. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This method helps to create savings goals that are mapped out and allows forecasting of larger expenses. Make your savings a priority by saving a specific dollar amount or percentage of your income every time that you get paid. When making large purchases with credit, make sure you don’t sign for a payment plan that is not sustainable for your income.
Day-to-day expenses account for a substantial part of spending. When I was in college, they accounted for about 60% of my monthly spending when I was living on campus and changed to about 45% when I moved off campus. Take advantage of student discounts. Living on or near campus means that there are lots of local businesses that offer students reduced pricing. As a good rule of thumb, always ask if a student discount is offered. Also, split your costs with others as often as possible. Be intentional with your spending and minimize credit card use. Always do your research and comparison shop for purchases. Doing these things will set you up for success.
Add to your income
Resell items you no longer need. There are lots of avenues to do so, whether it be a local thrift shop or one of the many online marketplaces. Find a side hustle that works for you. There are lots of opportunities for additional income sources outside of your main job. Determine your superpower, which is something that you can do well that makes you stand out. There are many resources that exist to find the perfect side hustle for you. You could also consider participating in focus groups with a market researcher. Focus groups bring together individuals with particular characteristic and/or preferences to test a product or program and often times are incentivized. Find a market research company in your area to find opportunities or search the internet.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Live simple and save as much as you can. Practice patience in purchasing. That means plan out when you will need big-ticket items and thoughtfully evaluate if you need to purchase something right now or if it can wait. The college student experience is different for everyone and involves many decisions. Planning, preparation, and persistence can help make those decisions easier.