“I’m a student, what can I do to improve my financial situation and put myself on the right track to financial independence?”

Why should I care about improving my financial situation?

Look, I understand, as students, your money is often tight, and you can’t always do everything that you want to do, but with a few simple changes in your life and mindset, that can change. Students nowadays don’t have the right attitude to money, they don’t see it as something that will work for them but rather something they have to work for. I’m not trying to say that only students have this problem, almost everybody does. However, as a student and a young person with a long life ahead of you, it’s very important for you to try to change that mindset, and understand that money is a tool that is here to serve you, and not the other way around. I wanted to give you some tips for budgeting, saving, and making money as a student that could make a pretty big difference to your life. I can give you the steps that you need to take in order to improve your financial situation, but you have to know that the first thing that has to change is your mindset. You have to be ready to change up your lifestyle a little bit now, in order to have financial freedom later.

Budgeting:

First off, we should talk about budgeting. Everyone should have a budget, and I mean absolutely everyone. Without it, you don’t even know where your money is going, and I think that we can all agree that if you work so hard for your money and spend so much of your time at your job or growing your business, you should know where the money you work for goes. I don’t want to get too deep into budgeting because I have released a free eBook that will explain all of that to you. If you’re a beginner to personal finance, that is definitely where you should start.

There are two basic concepts that you need to master in order to significantly improve your financial situation. Saving and making. Of course there are others like investing, but for beginners, understanding these two well will make a huge difference.

Saving:

Firstly, let’s talk about saving. Saving money is crucial, you need to get in the mindset of saving if you ever want to achieve financial success. You need to know what you can save on, how, and when. The first thing you should always do when you receive a paycheck or any incoming money for that matter is put a percentage of it in a savings account. The percentage differs based on how much of that money is required to fit your needs and wants, but a good number to aim for as a beginner is 20%. The other 80% can go to your needs and wants, however, the more that you can put into the savings account without impacting your life in a negative way, the better.

The best way to do this is that it’s automated. Anytime you get incoming funds, 20% of it should automatically go to your savings account and you should definitely set up a system that helps you achieve that because it is much easier than having to transfer the money yourself and you don’t really have a choice. It is also very important that you actually have a savings account, don’t leave all the money in one checking account and just plan to not spend 20% of it, because if it’s there, you’ll probably spend it.

For you as a student, saving money can often be easier than for people who are not students. You probably have a student ID, and if you don’t make sure you get one. Everywhere you go, ask if there is a discount for students. You will be surprised at the amount of places where you can pay significantly less if you are a student. Now there are a million tips on how you can save money on various purchases, many of these are posts on my Instagram account. If you’re interested in these, you should definitely go follow my account for daily content on this matter. I can’t include all of the tips in here because if I wanted to, this blog post could be 50,000 words long. Having said this, we can move on to making extra income in various different ways.

Earning:

Making money in today’s world for students is easier than ever. There are so many opportunities that you can grab that will bring in some extra money for you, and I’ll outline some of them here. The most important thing is to identify your strengths, something you’re good at, or at least better than most people and use that in order to make an income source for yourself. Here are some examples:

•You are knowledgeable in chemistry – tutor chemistry to high schoolers.

•Sell your old textbooks.

•You’re a skilled graphic designer – do freelance graphic design jobs.

•You have a car – drive for Uber of Lyft.

•Become a virtual assistant

•You speak another language fluently – do translation jobs.

•Get a job on or off campus.

Look, there is way too many possible jobs to list them all out. That is good news for you, there are countless opportunities for you to earn some extra money that you can either save or spend on the things you love to do.

5 Tips for Sticking to a Budget

How many people really do budget?

Did you know that according to a recent study done by U.S. bank, 41% of Americans say they are using a budget to keep track of their finances? This means that the majority of Americans, and I would guess the vast majority of people around the world have no structured system in place to keep their finances in order. This could be because people never tried, or because they have, and decided it wasn’t worth it and they didn’t stay committed. I’m sure you know many people who have decided to do something, were very excited about it for a few weeks, and then you never heard about it again. The exact same thing happens to people with budgeting. They decide they will start budgeting, they prepare a budget, and they never follow through long enough to see any real effects. Today, I’m going to be giving you guys 5 tips on how to stick to your budget to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

5 Tips on Sticking to a Budget

1. Stay realistic. The first tip seems simple, but it’s a very common mistake. Many people are so excited when they start their personal finance journey that they cut out some of the things that they in reality aren’t able to. For example, a person who often goes out with their friends on weekends for some drinks. They decide that because they’ve started saving, they won’t go out anymore, so they budget $100 a month for it. In 2 weeks or so, they overspend during their first month of budgeting, they get demotivated, and they never look at their budget again. This is such a common mistake that is committed by so many people. If you know something is a very important part of your life, budget some more money for it, and cut back something else which isn’t important. Your budget has to be well thought through if you ever want to have a chance at sticking to it.

2. Include some money for unexpected expenses every month. Including money for unexpected expenses will ensure that when they happen, it won’t demotivate you from sticking to your budget and you won’t feel like you’re overspending. In addition, if you don’t end up needing it, you can just contribute it to your emergency fund, savings account, investments or wherever else you think is a good place to put it.

3. Instead of going out, invite your friends over. Inviting your friends for dinner or some drinks at your place has many benefits. First of all, you might feel pressured to clean up your apartment for when they come, so you get the added benefit of a clean apartment. Secondly, you will end up spending less money, ask them if they can bring some food or a bottle of wine and you’ll have more than enough food and drinks for a fun night. Also, nights at home are much more personal, you can only find this out when you try it, but I promise you you will know what I’m talking about once you do. Lastly, your friends will often also be relieved to not have to go out and spend a bunch of money. I discovered this only when I started inviting people over, and the next time we planned to go out, they proposed the idea of going to someone’s place instead.

4. Make sure to often check your financial goals and how close you are to them. This is a proven strategy that will keep you motivated. Seeing those goals and getting closer to hitting them every month will give you such a wonderful feeling that is hard to explain, and once you build up the momentum, it will become a form of addiction. This means that as well as being fully aware of your financial situation, you’ll also be more motivated to keep going. If you want to read a little bit more on financial goals you can do it in my free eBook on the Start here page.

5. Have a grocery list. Sticking to a grocery list that fits your budget plan is a great way not to overspend. Having a grocery list means you don’t have to track your expenses everytime you go to the store because you already know how much money is necessary for those groceries. It can also help you lead a healthier lifestyle if you ensure to have a grocery list that consists of mostly healthy foods.

Keep this in mind

As a closing remark, I’d like to tell you this. Most of you probably work hard for your money, and spend a lot of time working. Whenever you get the urge to buy something that you know isn’t necessary, just go home, give it a day or two, and think about whether you really need that and how many hours or days of your work it costs. This method is sure to keep you from making some unnecessary purchases. Happy Monday and have an awesome week everyone!