If you are still a student like me then your financial picture is much different than someone just starting out in the workforce. You may not have a lot of money stacked up in your bank account as your focus is primarily on your studies and having fun.
However, it is important to take these times seriously, because the mistakes you make in school can follow you throughout the rest of your life.
Too many students are graduating in the red and facing difficult financial choices when they are just starting out. You can prevent this from happening to you with a campus financial checklist and by establishing good financial habits. Here are five major areas that you should focus on while still in college.
1. Give your Tithe
Tithing has been the secret to the prosperity of many. God owns everything.
“For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird on the mountains,
and all the animals of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for all the world is mine and everything in it.
13 Do I eat the meat of bulls?”
When you tithe you let the whole world know that your prosperity and dependency is not on money but on God. We live in a fallen world and naturally, we have been brought up to believe that money is the most important thing in this world which is wrong. The love of money has kept many in the never-ending pursuit of money. By giving your tithe, you break the hold that money has on you and activate God’s supernatural supply for his children.
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:8-11
Ever had a lot of money and have it all disappear within a day without you even being able to account for that money? The tithe does not belong to you, it belongs to God. Money is a currency and currents flow. Tithing will ensure that God’s currents keep flowing in your direction so that even when the whole world is complaining you will be smiling in God’s providence.
2. Have a Budget
You should create a budget for school now. Even if your parents are paying for your education entirely, you should have a budget outlined and stick to it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have fun as well. Budget it in.
Remember that most people will look back at school as the time when they had the least but had the most fun. You do not need to get the latest gadgets, computers, clothes, and cars to have a good time. These things can come after you have your first real job. Don’t be moved by the pressures of school life.
By setting limits on all of your spending categories and sticking to them you will start out on a great path and form good spending habits. Consider choosing more affordable hostel options to help save as well. Also, do your best pay your tithe whenever you receive money because when you give back to God you receive more in abundance. I can use myself as an example, whenever I pay my tithe or sow a seed I reap more than what I had given to God. The Bible even speaks of it so we need to obey God word for our own sakes.
3. Don’t just spend, save some
Saving money in school should be a priority. However, you may want to look at it a little differently than those who are out in the real world. It doesn’t make sense to invest a lot of money when you are going into debt to pay for your education. First, save for your tuition each semester. You may be working vacation jobs, or just part-time, but this can really make a difference in the amount you may end up borrowing.
You should definitely have an emergency fund saved as well. While you are an undergraduate you may want to buy a car, but you should likely hold off on purchasing a home or condo. Save at least 5%-40% of your income. This way, you will have some money available for a rainy day.
4. Find work or start a business
There are many advantages to working while you are on campus. It looks great when you begin to apply for jobs, especially if you can find work in your field. Finding a good campus job will make it easier to manage your money and gain work experience while in school. Additionally, you may benefit from tuition assistance and other employee benefits offered by your company.
The more money you make, the less you have to borrow, which can save you more in the long run. If you choose to only work during the long vacation you need to make the most of your vacation job. You may also take an internship. You may opt to work full-time and go to school part-time to avoid going into debt and manage your money better. This work experience can help you as you plan to transition from attending school to working. I can use myself as an example, on campus I help advertise events, as part of an acting group.
5. Don’t Borrow
Borrowing feels great until it’s time to pay back. As much as possible avoid borrowing for your everyday needs. If you should borrow money then it should be to acquire an asset that will bring you revenue so you will be able to pay back over a period of time. You should make sure that you are choosing the right bank accounts for a campus student. This is one of the areas when so many students make a mistake.
Credit cards have the potential to wreak havoc in your life. You do not need a credit card to make it through school. Credit card companies work hard to get students to sign up while in school. They want to create customer loyalty. It also more common for students to run up balances much quicker before they really understand all that a credit card entails.
You should be living on a budget and any money that you put on your credit card should be taken from the budget. This will help you to pay off your card in full each month.
Have some more financial advice for students? Feel free to add them to the comments below so others can benefit from it.