Spending, saving, and budgeting money is something a lot of students don’t really understand or get the hang of until they arrive at college. As a freshman, I definitely had an adjustment period, and I’m still looking for the best ways to manage my money effectively. And Tulane is an especially hard place to figure it out; with a million things to do in New Orleans, amazing restaurants and bars, terrible food on campus, and festivals like Voodoo and Mardi Gras, spending money mindfully can be challenging. Here are some tips I’ve found personally helpful for saving and budgeting money in college, as well as some great ideas from experts and professionals.
Shape Your Allowance Around Your Budget
Many students receive an allowance from their parents, but there are a million variables that can make it harder or easier for you to manage it effectively, depending on your own spending habits and life. I receive my allowance monthly, but I have friends who get theirs weekly, by semester, or even by year. For some people, getting it all at the beginning of the semester or year is nice because it allows them to make big purchases when necessary and to understand their money in the long term. But I personally know that I would spend all of mine too quickly, which is why I like to get it in monthly segments. It allows me to budget in smaller time periods, and I always have something to look forward to at the beginning of the month. If you’re struggling with spending, try receiving money weekly and planning out your spending in seven day segments.
Utilize Student Perks
Even if it isn’t true, the broke college student stereotype can actually yield great perks. In almost every college town or city, there are some discounts or coupons to be found for students, as well as a plethora online. If you’re looking to eat but can’t stomach going to Bruff again, check the weekly Dining Services email for this week’s deals at several local restaurants around campus when you spend NOLA bucks or Splash Cash. Tons of NOLA attractions have student discounts, like the WWII Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Whitney Plantation, and a number of ghost/voodoo tours. Beyond New Orleans, there are so many online websites and stores that give out discounts. I love using the app UNiDAYS, which organizes student discounts for hundreds of big brand retailers in one place.
Get a Job, or Start Your Own Side Hustle
If you love spending but your budget is holding you back, try supplementing what you already have with a part-time job. There are plenty of jobs on campus to explore, like working as a tutor, a note taker, at Riley, or through work study. Check out our recent article to learn more. But if nothing available suits you or your schedule, think about your own talents and skills. Creating your own business, whether to cater to Tulane students or to the broader public, is a great way to develop your interests while also making money, and also looks great on a resume. If you’re crafty, think about a fun product to sell; if you’re great at cooking, start selling baked goods out of your room; if you spend a lot of time in the dorm, think about doing others’ laundry for money. Get inspired by learning about this spray tan business started by two Tulane juniors, or about Corey Paige Designs, an apparel company started by a former Tulane student while she was in college.
Whether you seek out a job or vow to plan out every expense in your week, don’t get discouraged! Budgeting money is a breeze as long as you find a plan that works for you and stick to it. Happy saving!
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