Independent Living Tips for College Students
Once you leave home, you take a step into a new life chapter. You’re allowed to make your own decisions, even financially. It’s not always easy to manage your freedom, especially when you’ve never lived independently. As a result of COVID-19, you could feel even more overwhelmed or stressed – and you’re not alone.
Thankfully, there’s a ton of ways to adapt. With these tips, you can work through any scenario on your own. Take a look at how to save money as a college student.
Now that you’re on your own, you should try to stick to a schedule. For the most part, independent living for college students revolves around two aspects – schoolwork and social life. It’s important to balance each responsibility correctly so you don’t fall behind.
Use a planner or calendar to set up a schedule. Write down your assignments, classes and commitments as soon as you find out about them. Then, make a goal to wake up at a specific time every day. Even when you don’t have plans, it’s essential to be consistent. Do your best to establish a schedule that’s both flexible and productive.
Unfortunately, many people lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Now, hundreds of companies continue to post remote jobs that provide supplemental pay. Whether or not your income suffered due to the pandemic, you can look around for part-time gigs, too. A few hours a week can make a significant difference in your budget. Plus, you can outline these roles on your resume. Future employers love to see initiative.
You could become a delivery driver for Uber Eats or DoorDash. If you’re a fast typer, look for online transcription jobs. You can even sell handmade items on Etsy or purge your closet on eBay. Search the internet for potential opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be a little creative, either.
Whether you’ve found an apartment or not, it’s essential to start a budget. If you don’t keep track of your finances, it’s hard to save and prioritize your money. You can choose from a variety of models, but many people like the 50/30/20 rule. This simple and straightforward plan breaks down after-tax income to create three categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings.
You shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your earnings on rent alone, so this budget makes room for additional costs. Feel free to research other plans, too — whatever works best for you. With a budget, you can build a strategy that makes sense for your financial situation.
If you learn how to cook, you won’t need to spend money on unhealthy fast food. Plus, it’s an essential life skill. Every so often, we all like to make boxed mac ‘n cheese, but it’s time to change up your meals. Look online for helpful guides and videos that teach basic kitchen tricks, like how to cook pasta, rice and soup. You can put a personal spin on whatever you discover, so don’t feel confined to a single example.
As a result, you can take homemade snacks and lunches to class and work — and save your hard-earned cash. Then, takeout becomes an expense you can put into your “wants” category. You’ll have a lot more money to spend on necessities.
At first, it’s hard to figure out how to save money as a college student. With these tips, you can set aside money, make a budget for your needs, and enjoy your independent college life.
About the Author
Alyssa Abel is an experiential education writer with a love for learning. Read more of her work for students and educators on her blog, Syllabusy.