“My daughter, Meredith Botes, is a 21 year old senior at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. She has recently taken the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and is considering attending law school after graduation. Needless to say, her mother and I are very proud of her. Meredith is home for a few weeks prior to leaving for Italy where she will “study abroad” for the Spring Semester. I asked her to write a short blog post on budgeting from the perspective of a college student. Frankly, I wasn’t sure what the end result would be but I am very pleased with the outcome. Now if I could just get her to follow some of her own suggestions…..”
Budget Tips From a College Student For a College Student
As the daughter of a bankruptcy attorney you would think that saving money would become second nature, especially when your dad watches your bank account like a hawk. Needless, to say as a college student I have had my fair share of struggles. My dad asked me to write this blog post this morning (or actually over the course of two days) so here are a few tips I whipped up real quick:
- Unfortunately, Taco Bell is probably not included on your meal plan (it really is a tragedy). Don’t spend extra money on food when you have your meals already paid for. Make sure you choose a meal plan with the amount of meals that you will actually eat.
- Make a budget and stick to it- even if it means having your roommate hide your debit card from you or pulling a Dave Ramsey and storing cash in envelopes.
- Download a checkbook or spending track app and see what you’ve really been spending your money on. Decide if you really need to be eating so much Taco Bell (not that I have personally experienced this first hand…) Also, check your bank account regularly and make sure no strange charges appear.
- As a has-been college athlete, I understand that time is very limited for students. However, look for the opportunity for on-campus jobs whether it be work study, admissions, etc. Usually, work study is very flexible with your hours and it’s nice to have a little extra cash. Another idea is to look for jobs that are not open on the weekends, such as most law firms, that way you know you will have your weekends free.
- Find out where your student ID can grant you discounts- go online and do a little research you will be surprised. Then, use that ID until you can no longer pass for 21.
- Do you REALLY need that drink when you go out to eat? Cause it will add up.
- Share clothes with your friends. Don’t go buy a new outfit for every occasion.
- Give a portion of your money away (I know this is supposed to be about saving, but hear me out). Whether your money goes to sponsor a child, a church, or an organization that you believe in; I promise it is much more fulfilling than Taco Bell.
- Share a Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, whatever account with a trusted friend. And by trusted I mean someone that you know will pay you for their share.
- What do you do for leisure time? Does it cost you money? Consider finding things you enjoy that you can do for free or for a small price. Volunteering or finding someway to give back to your community can be very fun and rewarding while in return finding an opportunity to serve another.
Hope these tips are helpful to someone out there and I promise I am not obsessed with Taco Bell as it may seem.
Brad Botes is a principal of each of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He and his team of bankruptcy lawyers have spent over 30 years guiding people through financial challenges. Read his full bio here.