Waiting till you become a parent or an adult before you start to manage your finances and budget has to be one of the biggest misconceptions about finance out there.
What am I even saying? If there’s anything college or university taught you at all, it should be cutting on expenses.
Even at that, it’s still easy to find yourself in the nonsensical home of Sapa. But that’s about to change as we dismantle the art of managing your finances.
In my first year in school – the first year is probably when most college students learn how to manage finances and fix a budget – money just kept disappearing, and I wondered why.
Disappeared is a fancy word though, it’s more like I spent it.
And after spending, the only thing that kept ringing in my head was that I had money. Enough to last me longer than it did, or at least that’s what I thought.
So how exactly is the money disappearing?
How’s Sapa managing to visit me every week?
How’s it that I’m always accepting Sapa (the state of being broke) with open arms anytime he comes to visit?
There, and then, was when I realized I needed to overlook my finances. I knew that if I didn’t take a step back, create a budget, and start managing my finances, I’d always be welcoming Sapa with open arms.
So tighten your belt, and hold on tight as we embark on this flight of managing your finances and budget as a student.
How To Manage Your Finances And Budget As A Student
Pay Your Debts
First and foremost, please kindly pay PalmPay their money. It’s important, you don’t want to go about with curses from Palmpay, do you? Not especially when you’re trying to manage the little money you have on you.
Okay, okay, I’m kidding. But pay the debts you have on the ground.
Those friends you’ve borrowed urgent 2k from, settle them first.
Being financially stable isn’t having millions in the bank, it’s about being able to manage the little you have effectively while living within your means.
To achieve this, starting with paying off debts is a good way to stay above the drowning waters of Sapa, and have peace of mind (not having high blood pressure when you see the purple colour)
So settle your outstanding debts if you have any, and then collate your remaining funds for management.
With that said, let’s dive into the first step to managing your finances and budget as a student.
Create a budget
Yes, building a budget is the very first step.
Oh wait, it’s the first after paying off your debts, lol
You need to take a look at your source of income and create a budget around that. If you are the type that gets a monthly allowance from your parents, your part-time job, or anyone else, write down that amount and create a month’s budget around it.
It’s easy to lose track of your finances and spend money as you deem fit once you don’t have a budget. And this explains why you’ve never defeated Sapa.
Even if it’s as little as 2k, budget, budget, and budget until your finances fit into that amount.
- Invest first, save second, and spend last.
Frame this ‘the rich invest first and save the remaining, and the poor spend first and invest the rest”
Investing and saving have nothing and everything to do with Sapa making your bank account its permanent residence. If you are the type that your monthly allowance is on the high side or the type that gets another money replacement once you exhaust the previous allowance, then this step is vital.
Investing first doesn’t necessarily mean putting your money into crypto or forex trading, especially if you don’t know jack about it. It could be paying to learn an online skill or using some money to start a small online business.
Whatever it is, ensure you have that teeny weeny investment that’d pay in multiple and folds whether in skills, knowledge, or money.
And after investing… Save second!
Frame this—pay yourself first
There’s a popular mantra in the personal finance world that says – “Pay yourself first”
That is, pay yourself first for emergencies or savings. Once you get your monthly 10k, remove 3k to 1k depending on how much you can afford, and stack it as an emergency fund or savings.
Mind you, your emergency fund isn’t meant to be removed at the end of the month for you to buy someone an iPhone 13 or visit high-end restaurants with friends. It’s for any important emergencies that your budget can’t cushion.
But your savings can be removed, maybe annually to tick off the items you have on your wish list or get that one thing you’ve been saving up for.
In fact, paying yourself first should even be included in your budget.
Get A Part-time Job
When you’re just starting on your journey of defeating Sapa and not staying broke, you inevitably make some lapses and spend beyond your means.
In that case, don’t beat yourself up.
Here’s what to do instead;
Go out there and search for bricklaying and carpentering jobs. By the time you work under the hot scorching sun for half a day only to earn about 4-5k, you’d think twice before splurging your money…lol
Okay, okay, okay!
On a more serious note, the problem with your finances might likely not be with the fact that you’re splurging or mismanaging your money, but rather it’s because it’s not enough to begin with.
And that’s precisely why you should look into suitable online or onsite jobs, like tutoring students online or small online businesses you could delve into as a student to support and mend your broken budget.
- Get Your Things In Bulk
If you’ve calculated that you would consume 100 cups (ca. 24 l) of rice in a month, then you shouldn’t be getting your things in retail. Buy it in bulk and save that extra money, no matter how little.
You can even go as far as buying half a bag of rice/beans all at once if you’re able to.
If you’ve got a good refrigerator and stable light, you can also cook in bulk to save on gas expenses and time spent cooking. You should not sleep in bulk, thou.
Lookout For Discounts
This is another lucrative way of keeping your budget tight. Discounts! If you spend 10k on data expenses in a month using apps like PalmPay or Opay to earn cashback is worth it. That 300 you’d be saving per month is part of it.
But this doesn’t apply only to online goods, if you have that customer who usually gives freebies when you get something from her, you should patronize continually to save up on as little as you can.
Looking out for discounts is an effective way of managing your budget and even getting extras at the end of the month.
Stay At Home
I’m sure you don’t need to be told that by now. Going out is expensive, so please stay at home.
This was one of my most effective ways of saving money on campus. Staying off campus only spelt one thing – more expenses.
So I chose to stay home and attend classes when necessary.
But staying home isn’t limited to classes alone, if you’re the type that can’t do without going clubbing every evening, or burning money when attending parties, you might want to cut down on this by staying home and repurposing that time into a better output.
Share Expenses With A Friend
Sharing living expenses is cost-effective, time-effective, and everything effective. The best thing about this is most of your splittable bills will be split in half or even less.
When it comes to cooking and saving on gas expenses, you already know the bills are being divided.
If you stay off campus, for example, you could get yourself a roommate whom you’d split house rent, gas fees, electricity bills, and all that with.
If you stay on campus, you can easily get your fellow roomies – if you’re not staying in a room of one – to probably cook together or get groceries together in bulk, so you can save on expenses.
Sharing expenses is one of the most cost-effective personal finance management strategies I would vote for. But if you do not want any money-related troubles or really can’t keep up with taking, then perhaps, you should skip this.
Avoid Impulsive Purchases
Most people don’t have any problem with their finances, the problem lies with their impulsive purchases.
Fancy tech products, app memberships, and subscriptions one could do without, and improper management of money by buying unnecessary things can all be tagged under impulsive or thoughtless purchases.
The 20k sneakers that caught your eye on your way out are not for you, but you bought them.
And this is one more reason why you should build a budget. With a budget, you know the exact amount of money you can spend on various items. You could even budget a maximum of 100, 200, or 500, for daily expenses.
This way, you know whether buying that 1k or 20k item would throw your finances into jeopardy or not and you’d be able to avoid it.
Creating a budget allows you to control your finances, and you shouldn’t take it lightly!
Once again… mismanagement of finance is an easy ditch to fall into, especially when there’s an endless supply of items screaming in your face to buy them.
But once you build your budget, pay yourself, and stick to tips to keep your budget tight, then keeping your finances and budget as a student under a tight leash becomes a norm for you.
By combining two, three, four, or all of these tips to manage your finances and budget you should successfully defeat Sapa.