Checkbooks vs. Textbooks

Bani Ghai
Written by Bani Ghai

Budgeting and limiting your finances is always a challenging task, and being a college student just adds to that struggle. College is an expensive venture in which finances tend to become tight and constrained, and being stressed out about our education on top of that doesn’t quite make the best combination. Regardless of financial aid or scholarships, you can never have too much money when you’re in college. Which would you rather have to worry about balancing: your checkbooks or your textbooks?

You should feel secure to the point that you don’t live in constant fear of checking your bank account to see if there are enough funds in there to support your already stressful life. This is where budgeting comes into the picture. Everything costs money. Textbooks, snacks, coffee, alcohol, transportation, supplies, groceries, etc. Math isn’t everyones strong suit; however, you do not need to be a mathematician to balance your finances.

Avoiding the panic of going broke is actually quite simple:

1. Put a set amount of money in your checking account on a weekly/monthly/quarterly basis to keep yourself on track.

2. Avoid buying excess things that are not absolute necessities (i.e. want it vs. need it).

3. If you do not have a campus meal plan, pack snacks so you don’t binge buy food that looks tempting on campus.

4. Limit the amount of times you buy food from restaurants.

5. Make an effort to find the best deals (the dollar store is your new best friend).

6. Take advantage of the free “stuff” (restaurant promos, giveaways, events, etc.)

7. Buy used textbooks or old editions of them… Or borrow from your peers.

8. Local transportation is more reliable than you give it credit.

9. Monitor your spending on a daily basis and check your account at the end of each day.

10. If you can, find a way to bring income to support yourself. Even a few hours shifts at a local joint can help.

11. Spending time with friends doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending money. Don’t be pressured to spend money just because your friends are.

12. Keep a change cup by the door. Fill it up by emptying out your pockets each time you enter the room.

13. Thrifting; you don’t have to be hipster to do it.

Caution: credit card expenses add up quickly!
As students, we all want to create the best college experience for ourselves that we can. Budgeting is one way to keep yourself in check and also teaches self-control for situations that we will be placed in for the rest of our lives. The value of our education is a top priority, but we must also learn to educate ourselves on the value of money. Study sensibly, and spend wisely!

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