Keeping up with living costs means practicality for college students
The Vanguard Vision
April 4, 2011 —
While Congress canít seem to agree on a budget, itís good to see that students are finding ways to live within their means. This week, the Vanguardís feature on the cost of living shows that students can be extremely resourceful when it comes to making the most of their dollars.
Staff writer Patrick Snyder shared several strategies for saving a buck: buying textbooks online, shopping at discount food stores and driving fuelefficient vehicles.
Some students have brought to our attention the fact that they have spent less and less on regular items such as gas and groceries each year since enrolling at the University. Instead of wasting time by blaming big business or government for their financial hardships, theyíre choosing to take control and to be proactive with their personal finances.
Many of these money-saving methods come down to learning the difference between wants and needs as well as overcoming some of the impulsiveness of our youth. Living within our budgets becomes a mark of maturity.
Snyder notes that taking out loans and paying bills are new experiences for many young adults coming to college for the first time. While these new developments may be a cause of stress for some, they are important gateways to the experience of adulthood.
Here is another hint for saving coin at college: Have a clear career path in mind and meet with academic advisers. Hasty decisions can come with a hefty price attached. When you change majors or take classes you discover that you donít need, you could potentially waste thousands of dollars.
Many students go further than adjusting their budgets Ė they increase their revenues. Even a few extra working hours in a week can make a significant difference in a personal budget, and part-time jobs can be available if youíre persistent and willing. Rather than looking to a government program or to family for additional support, students have the ability and opportunity to help themselves.
Location has a lot to do with the cost of living, and this is a major factor to consider for those of us close to graduation. Some cities are more expensive to live in than others and this may play a role in the decision making process that precedes moving for a career or for graduate school. Students should take their time and look at all options before moving somewhere else.
In addition to what students learn in college, they also learn to manage the money they have. Perhaps itís best to learn this skill now when many of us arenít making loads of money so when we have good jobs after graduation, weíll have a better sense of the value of money. Weíll know full well how to provide for basic needs, avoid unnecessary spending and have a plan for saving.