awareness important in having a less stressful, debt free
Your dad has unloaded the last box, your mom has given
her last tearful hug, and you have waved your last good-bye
as your parents minivan rolls around the corner
and releases you into a life of pure college luxury.
The only problem is luxury comes at a price, and most
college budgets are not going to cover it.
Many college freshmen feel this initial sense of financial
panic. Some even spend the next four years digging themselves
deeper and deeper into an endless hole of debt.
However, it is possible to maintain a pretty decent living
standard throughout college and graduate debt-free if
you start living on a college budget now.
The first and foremost requirement for living on a budget
is to pace yourself. That monthly allowance from Mom and
Dad can only last so long, and if you spend half of your
money in two days, you are looking at a long month ahead.
Dont go out to eat every night the first week
of school, said Beth Mayberry, a sophomore social
work and political science major.
Although it is tempting to go out every night with new
friends, set aside one day a week for friend dates.
Not only will your pocket be fuller, but also you will
have something to look forward to after a hard week of
Another budget foe faced by college students is the all-too-abused
The average college student has accumulated $2,327 worth
of credit card debt by graduation. It would take 18 years
to pay this off if you paid only the minimum monthly requirement.
These little pieces of plastic may offer temporary highs
for students with spending addictions, but they cause
more harm than good. In the words of parents across the
country, credit cards should be used for emergencies
In addition, students should not use credit cards to purchase
large or expensive items, such as that new Prada handbag
or Sony DVD player. If you cannot afford to pay for it
now, chances are you cannot pay for it later, especially
when interest has been added.
At the same time, avoid using credit cards to purchase
In fact, it may prove beneficial to forget the credit
card altogether. Get a debit card. Since debit cards allow
users to spend only what is in their account, there is
no danger of venturing into that black hole of debt.
Cutting coupons can also save the novice college student
from future financial strain. This may seem like a tedious,
time-consuming task, but TCU makes it easy for you. Anywhere
on campus that there is a stack of newspapers, you can
be sure to find TCU coupon books, made exclusively for
These coupon books are filled with great deals around
the Fort Worth area, including $6 pizzas and $5 haircuts.
The really great part is that you can take as many as
Also, do not be afraid to ask for student discounts in
the area. Places like the movies and nearby clothing stores
usually offer some type of discount to TCU students.
Another way to survive on a college budget and
this one may hurt is to skip Spring Break. Each
year, students across the nation spend thousands of dollars
on a one-week stretch of rest and relaxation known as
And while lying on the beaches of Cancun may be fun, is
it worth it to graduate with $5,000 worth of Spring Break
In fact, it may be more practical to go on several cheap
trips, such as annual camping trips with friends. But,
if the beaches of Mexico are just to tempting to resist,
save up for one big Spring Break excursion instead of
going every year.
If spending money on entertainment activities is your
financial downfall, consider going to school-sponsored
events for recreation. Most sporting events and departmental
programs are free, and free will never put
you in debt.
Finally, Be reasonable about your expenses. You are a
college student, which means you are the universal icon
of frugal living.