Being a student in another city is the first step to adulthood. Although this period represents one of the best moments in your life, there will be multiple struggles that you’ll face throughout the years. If you want to be the best student in the class while also having to budget your money, here are a few things to consider.
This period in your life is the most defining because you’ll adopt certain habits that are either beneficial or will stand in the way of your goals. You should be organised regarding expenses and priorities; also look after yourself; otherwise, the learning process will be affected.
Calculate your monthly costs
Think about your fixed and variable costs. Both of them are necessary, but you can cut corners when it comes to things that are not urgent or important. Essential fixed costs are rent, utilities and internet/phone bills, and these are the ones you need to pay first to ensure the basic needs for the next month. Those costs are not changing over a short time, so it should be the same amount that you have to pay.
After that, the variable costs fluctuate. Here you have groceries (which depend on whether you cook at home or order food at home), school expenses (sometimes you might need books or other materials), clothes, and supplies. There are other expenses, like coffee or entertainment, and they’re not needed; it’s nice to have a drink with your classmates sometimes, but don’t make it a habit if you want to stick to your budget.
One useful tool that can help you visualise your costs is an Excel file. You can separate the money you receive (from your parents, work or anything similar) and the expenses (divided into two columns). This way, you can keep track of your financial habits, correct some of them or find a way to change your lifestyle. You can be responsible and have fun at the same time.
Define your priorities
According to your needs, you will set your priorities. Do you want to be the best in your class? Then you have to participate in all the classes you enrolled in. Plus, you might need tutoring sometimes, so you want to have a separate budget for affordable monthly online tuition. If you get unmotivated sometimes, think about what you want the future to look like? Because your education will help you achieve almost anything you want from life if you’re perseverant enough. Suppose you do something more than school that only means that you want to know more and be the best.
Is your next priority to be on a budget? Even if you want to start being responsible with your money without your parents’ help or not, it would be a good lesson for you to learn how to be financially stable with a fixed amount of money. Investing books for students could be a great start in learning how to save money. Sure, these years are the funniest you’ll ever have, but fun doesn’t always mean entertainment, parties and spending money.
Volunteering is one of the best experiences for students because:
- You have the opportunity to work on your skills and improve yourself (you’ll communicate a lot in these programs, so you’ll learn how to be efficient and make use of your skills)
- You can travel while being part of a volunteering program that will cover all the expenses (many organisations need people for helping in coordinating an event in another city or country)
- You can start working early in your field because you have gained experience in the volunteering program (it’s also a great opportunity to meet people and form connections that you can use when looking for a job)
- You can prove that you are adding value in the field you want to study/work by helping others and giving your time to a good cause
Try part-time jobs
If you need extra money, you could try a part-time job. There are many options; you can work a few hours per week or at weekends, whenever you have some spare time from classes and studying. You can try babysitting, where you have to watch a kid for a few hours; maybe prepare dinner or help with homework. If you like coffee, you can apply for a barista position (where you have free coffee for yourself), and you’ll learn how to work under pressure and remember a few recipes. It’s also a good way to work on your communication skills.
If you’re passionate about marketing, you could be a social media assistant, where you can work on your favourite social platforms and learn how to use them to advertise products and services. Another option is tutoring; many middle schoolers need additional lessons in maths or even foreign languages.
Take care of your health
Lastly, don’t push yourself to the limit. Maybe you need to fit into the budget, but that doesn’t mean skipping meals or having too many jobs and volunteering programs at the same time; otherwise, your mental and physical health may deteriorate, and your performance in studies will decrease with time.
Statistics show that 1 out of 5 students suffers from anxiety or depression during the academic years, mostly because of social media’s effects, which lead to sleep problems and stress. Another reason is financial stress and the fear of not getting a job after graduation. Therefore, in order to have good grades, you should take care of what you eat and how you sleep. Try having a routine that will help your body adapt to sleeping and waking hours and change old habits that are not relevant anymore.
You can always financially educate yourself because the world is constantly changing; prices, supply, demand, and taxes will always rule the way the world works, and the only thing you can do is adapt and strive for better. The school doesn’t limit education; it has to go beyond those walls and give you chances to see the world as it is.