Budgeting like a boss

Nylah Powell | Staff Writer

Most people associate college students with financial struggles.

Between getting laundry done, attending events and paying for school amenities, college students have our own list of “bills.” There are, however, ways to maintain money while being on campus.

Some smart ways to begin are being wise when budgeting, investing and spending.

Plan out your spending before wasting your money.

“Planning out my spending is the No. 1 way I save money,” freshman Jordan Benefield said. “Saying, ‘OK, I’m going to spend X amount on groceries this month, X amount on eating out and X amount on miscellaneous things,’ helps me keep track of my spending.”

Another tip is to take advantage of free or inexpensive offerings around school.

The Hampton shuttle service runs on weekends to different places around campus. Use it instead of ordering a Lyft or Uber. It saves students a tremendous amount of money.

Also, try to attend events or activities that are free. Hampton hosts several free events on campus for students, including sporting events. You don’t have to go to the movies or go shopping and spend a ton of money to enjoy yourself. Support your classmates and fellow Hamptonians by attending their free events.

A lot of times, students earn some form of financial aid to assist in paying for school.

This includes scholarships, grants and different types of student loans. In addition to earning financial aid, students may receive some leftover money, known as a “refund check.” This occurs when fees have been paid and there is financial aid remaining. It can be tempting to spend this money carelessly, but this is not the best option. The refund money can really come in handy with buying textbooks, school supplies or even groceries.

Make it a habit of eating in the cafeteria if you live on campus. Most students get tired of eating the same type of food all year, every year. It’s crucial to remember, however, that you have already paid the expense of your meal plan, so avoiding going the cafeteria is a waste of the money already spent. Of course, walking to Tropical Smoothie or ordering from Pizza Hut sounds much tastier, but these splurges must be kept to a minimum.

Look around for job opportunities to get hired and make some extra money. Work study jobs are offered at Hampton for eligible students as part of financial aid packages. With work study, students are given a job on campus, and they earn paychecks for their work. The money must be used toward tuition and fees, but if expenses are already paid in full, then the money can be used toward anything. If you’re eligible for work study, take advantage of the opportunity.

If work study is not an option for you, the next plan could be getting a part-time job somewhere. The only downfall about working part time is that the money can be used however you wish, whenever you wish. Sure, that may sound convenient, but it’s easy to lose track of your money when you have so much freedom with it. Spend it wisely.

Create a budget for your expenses. Recognize the amount of money you have and prioritize accordingly.

“Whenever it’s possible, keep all change you get back and stash it away somewhere,” freshman Kennedy Peace said. “Eventually, if you save it long enough, you can cash the money and will have a significant amount that you didn’t expect to have.”

There are many ways to save money and have money readily available. It’s all about looking around for opportunities and taking advantage of them. If you find tactics that work for you and stick to them, you won’t have to be just another “broke college student.”

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