Budgeting tips for independent students

Photo via Foter.com

by Isabella Post–

College students struggle financially, between high tuition prices, book and lab fees spending money can be almost nonexistent.  Within this division of students are an entirely different breed, the independent student.

I’m not talking about the student whose parents are not paying for their college or won’t send a monthly allowance.  I’m talking about students classified as independent according to financial aid records.  According to FAFSA there are 10 different qualifications to becoming an independent student.  Some of these cases include having a child, being above the age of 23, veteran status, being married, or orphaned.

This different qualification gives students the opportunity to earn more grants and government loans but personal expenses can be tricky.  As an independent student myself, I have come up with some easy tricks to budget funds.

First, get a meal plan.  They may seem expensive in terms of tuition but with plenty of late nights and tight schedules bound to occur throughout the semester this option will end up being way cheaper than take out or fast food.

Second, get a job with consistent hours.  This is key.  Having a part time job that cancels hours or cuts shifts short can hurt income.  Opt for a job with a locked in schedule for ease and consistency.

Finally, pick a set number your bank account is not allowed to go under each month.  If you know one month will have higher expenses- plan for it! For me, I don’t let my checking account go below $500.  If this means I have vet bills or car repairs coming up the month before I will set my baseline higher (around $600 or $700) the month before in preparation.

These simple things will help independent and dependent students alike manage their money in a quick way that still allows for easy spending .

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