College Finances

One of the hardest parts of one's college career is organizing finances. There are savings goals, debt, bills, textbooks, tuition fees and on top of that, a desire to enjoy your money while you’re still young. Even more stressful is the fact that this could be your first time managing finances on your own. 

Some of the most important skills you’ll learn in college won’t come from your classes, and managing money is one of those skills. However, that doesn’t make learning about finances any less stressful. Below are four tips on how to stay relaxed when dealing with the nightmare that is maintaining a college student's financial well-being. 

1. Remember that financial slumps are temporary 

You are most likely not going to be financially thriving during school. And when you are struggling, it’s very important to remember the slump is temporary. There are lots of reasons that financial slumps may appear, especially in the chaotic, quickly changing lives of college students. Maybe you miss work for a few days or even lose your job entirely, but no matter what happens to create a slump, it can make you feel completely powerless. Keep in mind that you are not helpless — pull yourself together, and begin calmly looking for solutions. 

2. Budget, budget, budget 

Granted, many people are doing this long before starting college, but budgeting is essential for any college student, no matter their financial situation. By setting up a budget, you will see where all your money needs to go. A good monthly budget includes all bills that need to be paid, a projection of food and living expenses and a limit on money that can be spent on fun stuff. An effective budget will help you keep your spending accountable, cover the necessities and keep you as financially satisfied as you can be. 

3. Accept and enjoy your current lifestyle 

One of the hardest things about being broke in college is accepting that you’re broke in college. But by coming to terms with your current financial situation you can feel more fulfilled with the money you have. You may not be at a place to buy a car, travel whenever you’d like or even go out to dinner, but by finding alternatives that bring you joy — like exploring parks or making your own slightly extravagant dinner — you can be satisfied. Also, by acknowledging your financial lifestyle, you can avoid unnecessary spending.

4. Get professional help 

In this time of stress and financial learning, it’s important to take care of your mental health. Do not try to handle all of this money management stress on your own, especially when there are free counseling services available through UNL. Counseling can be a good way to effectively relieve this new form of stress and learn how to manage it in the future. UNL offers financial services and classes that can help you learn as well.