Start a budget before dollars start disappearing

Don’t burn money — Even in the face of an economic crisis, there are easy ways to stay savvy with personal spending. Photo compiled from

Some students fall prey to spending

It is no secret that times are tough in the financial realm these days. According to the US Treasury, Congress is wading through a $14.6 trillion deficit. However, there may be no other people group in the United States more acutely aware of how tight money is than the average college student.

“State-budget cuts forced many colleges and universities to make huge tuition hikes,” Jahna Berry said in her USA Today article. Due to the increase, education is causing aspiring students to reacha even further into their pockets for spare change.

There obviously is not much students can change about their sky-rocketing tuition payments, but there are plenty of things college students may be spending precious pennies on that are not quite as essential as they think.

The College Board website posts a breakdown of how college students are dispersing their money. The breakdown consists of 47 percent for housing, 18 percent for transportation and a whopping 35 percent for miscellaneous purchases. Such purchases include clothing, entertainment and restaurants.

In this simple generic breakdown of how college students are spending their money, there are obvious ways to make simple cutbacks without sacrificing a fulfilling college lifestyle.

One of these cutbacks is transportation, which is virtually unnecessary on most college campuses. Specifically at Liberty University, there are a variety of alternatives to driving, such as the bus system or good old fashioned tennis shoes. By opting out of driving aimlessly around campus, students could potentially save hundreds of dollars a month on gas. For students brave enough to sacrifice not bringing along a car, money, which would have otherwise gone toward a shiny new parking pass, is placed safely back into their wallet.

As far as “miscellaneous purchases” go, college students fall prey to excessive spending without even realizing how much money is truly being wasted by the end of a semester. One obvious money pit for college students is food. Utilizing the dollar menu may seem like an economical and appetizing meal option, however over time all those dollars add up, leaving the student with no dollars. Instead, make the most of cafeteria meal swipes and any form of meal point system on campus. While these are technically not free meals, this allows students to avoid wasting precious dollars from their wallet.

Other limitable expenses include buying unnecessary school supplies, overspending on entertainment and spending money to relieve stress.
Instead of buying a random assortment of school supplies to fill freshly furnished dorm room desktops, check with professors to avoid buying items that will not be used throughout the semester.

When it comes to entertainment, there are often a variety of exciting activities provided by a school’s campus activities coordinator. By making use of the activities fee to plan weekend rendezvous, students can truly save a substantial amount of money over time.

“The goal is to save money now so you can continue enjoying your money on both essential and frivolous expenses,” Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Ben Steverman said. While college is an expensive privilege, students can certainly pinch pennies without being penny-less.

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