Back to school Budgeting for Students

We are one day away from a new school year and it is time to do away with summer habits and rituals. It is time to focus on school and studying.

School nowadays, especially colleges and universities, cost a fortune and that requires a budgeting plan by students to survive it financially.


Budgeting and Working while in School

If you were lucky enough to have worked in the summer and saved some money, good for you. Now be smart with it and budget it, accounting for such things as books, meals, residence and other items that may apply to your situation.  Assuming that you are doing both a fall and winter semester, then you know you will be in school from September till about early April. With that in mind, you can budget the money you saved during the summer for these 7 or 8 months of school. Unless you have saved lots and lots of money that is more than enough to last you through the entire school year, it doesn’t hurt to find a PT job that can provide you with some more needed cash.

If you didn’t get a chance to work or save enough money for school, you will will likely need to find a PT job that can help you with your school as well as personal expenses.  It is very important that you find out your school schedule first before you commit to any new job.  Furthermore, make sure your PT job is no more than 20 hours per week (or 25 if you include the weekends) otherwise you will be consumed and too tired with working and have little time or energy to study.


Frugality and Saving

Students often have limited budgets and income and the little money they have is barely enough for the essentials such as books, food, residence etc.  Therefore, students should treat every penny as if it is the last one and not spend as if they have no school or have an infinite supply of money coming in.  While making the transition from the summer vacation to the new school year, it may take some time for students to forget old habits and start saving.  Since you are only working part time now-or not even working at all-you can no longer continue your weekly mall shopping spree or throw money on clubbing and drinking every weekend. While these things can still be enjoyed, you should spend less on them and much less frequently.

Although it is pretty common sense, there is lots of studies and articles that clearly show that those who don’t have to work while studying do better-or a lot better-than those who have to study and work at the same time. Lately, we have been seeing some students who are working not just one, but two, even three PT jobs while attending school! This is absolutely absurd. Even if it is a few hours per week for each, still, it is too much of a distraction and lost hours that would otherwise be spent on studying and other on-campus related activities.  If possible, limit yourself to one job, that provides you with 15-20 hours per week, rather than doing two jobs with 10 hours each. This way you have to deal with one work schedule, one boss, one work location, rather than having to deal with multiple ones of each.

I believe that the reason a lot of students can’t continue their higher education, or drop out completely, is due to the little amount of time they spend studying, because they are busy working. In other words, their full time studies is becoming part time while their supposed part time job is taking on a full time basis. Students need to be wary of this and not let it impact their school.

School is a big investment that will pay you off for the rest of your life. While working for some extra needed cash is OK, be sure to only work part time and leave as much time for school work and activities as you possibly can.


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