Thomas Batterman Provides Tips for College Students on Balancing their Finances
Over 44 million Americans collectively hold nearly 1.5 trillion dollars in student debt. When a student graduates, the average student loan borrower has $37,172 in debt, up $20,000 from 13 years ago. With all that said, it has become increasingly important for students to practice effective money management techniques. We spoke with fiduciary and financial advisor, Thomas Batterman, to bring you some of the best tips for balancing college student finances.
College is a time for students to experience a first real taste of freedom, and with this freedom comes responsibility. While many college students disregard the idea of making a budget, knowing how to manage money is a vital skill that extends far beyond post-secondary education. Whether you are paying your own way, receiving help from parents, using financial aid, or combination of all three, Thomas Batterman explains that college is an expensive experience that becomes pricier with poor spending habits.
Create a Budget
The first tip for any college student is to create a budget. Between tuition, supplies, rent, and groceries, you may not have a lot of expenses, but it is still a great idea to begin building a budget to enforce better spending habits in the future. Being able to actively track personal finances will make you a more conscious consumer and allow you to develop healthy spending patterns. There are dozens of free money management apps out there, like Mint.com, where you can see your bills and money together.
Determine Your Necessities
Secondly, you will want to separate your wants from your needs. After a few months of tracking and your expenses, it will become easier to distinguish your wants from your needs and to implement a comprehensive plan of action. Some students give themselves a weekly cash allowance instead of using a debit or credit card, to physically stop them from purchasing anymore ‘wants’.
Only Borrow What You Require
Next, Thomas Batterman suggests that you only want to borrow what is required. If you need to take out a student loan, be sure to equate the amount borrowed with the type of salary available once the degree is obtained. Taking out more money than is necessary to fund an extravagant campus life can cause you significant issues in the long-run. If you do want to fund those extracurricular activities, make sure to get a job to cover those expenses. Work-study positions usually offer the flexibility a student needs with the convenience of location.
Be a Conscious Consumer
Lastly, get in the habit of being frugal in all your purchases. When you are buying textbooks, one of the college student’s greatest expenses, try buying an iPad or reader to read your textbooks on — it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Additionally, when you are buying groceries, be sure to price check everything you’re buying — or try buying whatever is on sale and trying something new!
No matter where you are in your college journey, it is important to start implementing money-saving habits into your daily ritual, to ensure you don’t leave college with debt that is going to follow you around for years to come.