How to Limit Your Expenses When You Start College

When you graduate from high school, a lot of things begin happening all at once. You’ve got to prepare for the large transition to college! You are figuring out how to make money and what work you want to do in your life! And…you start getting hundreds of credit and loan applications? How can you limit your expenses and make smart money choices when you start college?

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Limit Eating Out

Eating out is fast, easy, and seems inexpensive. However, if you’re on a budget, spending five dollars daily on lunch really starts to add up! If you are working, the realization that half your part-time paycheck is going to your lunches, alone, can be demoralizing. There are simple meals you can learn to cook in bulk, freeze, or group-share with roommates which can solve this issue. Do not worry- between TikTok recipes, online cookbooks, and the ability to facetime with the best cook you know, you really can learn this!

Figure Out What Your Parents Will Cover

Your parents understand that you are trying to learn how to be as independent as possible. There are some bonuses, though, that they can continue to cover for you. You can stay on your parents’ health insurance until you’re 26. This includes Medicaid and the ACA! This time allowance gives you a good chance to finish college and be working at higher than minimum wage before you need to pay for your own insurance. Better yet, you might be able to find a job that includes insurance!

Don’t Get Credit Cards

It’s understandable that you can be tempted to take every line of credit that you’re offered. Don’t do it! Use the least amount of student loans, and especially credit cards, as possible to survive. Pay off credit cards completely every month, and only use your credit card for emergencies. No, that really awesome new tool isn’t actually an emergency. It’s very easy to get underwater quickly with the offerings given to young people, and getting out of debt is much harder.

You want your college experience to be a positive one. After all, it’s a launchpad for the rest of your life! Learning how to manage your finances and money (or lack of it) now is a tool you will need for all of your adulthood. Even when you have much more, being able to manage the money you have is critical!

Read this next: How to Become an Entrepreneur in Your Teens

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