Being Financially Responsible as a Student: Benefits of Budgeting

In Brief:

  • Helping students realize it’s rewarding to be financially aware.
  • Eight affordable actions students can take to live a more financially responsible lifestyle.
  • Budgeting makes students aware of where their money is going and where it should be going.

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McKenzie Beach
Author: McKenzie Beach

McKenzie graduated from Doane University last May with a degree in Strategic Communications and a minor in Leadership. She wrote for the institution’s newspaper and played basketball while being a Tiger. Joining Nelnet Campus Commerce as a content coordinator intern, she looks forward to writing articles that effectively communicate what is needed to our clients and the public. When McKenzie is not writing, she enjoys baking and spending time with her family.

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Budgeting blog article series (3): Useful budgeting tips for students

By helping students think of budgeting as a positive thing instead of being a constant nag, they can live the lifestyle they desire on a budget. Nelnet Campus Commerce is excited to present this three series of blog articles to give students a good financial footing. This first article focuses on highlighting benefits that come along with being aware and responsible of a budget. Articles about managing a credit card and financial wellness are to come.  

Being financially mindful

Creating a budget allows students more financial freedom because they are aware of how much money they can spend on certain things upfront. Budgeting takes away the dreaded guessing game of “can I afford this?” The instant gratification of purchasing something that may not fit in the budget tends to outweigh the consequences of debt for students. The goal is to steer them away from this type of attitude and replace it with an eagerness to budget. Nelnet has outlined many actions that students can take to save money and how to develop better financial habits 

Being aware of additional expenses

Along with excitement, extra expenses also come with the beginning of a school year. Things such as books, technology, and initial school supplies are all items that have to be purchased. These expenses are added on top of the everyday needs and wants of students like food and entertainment. Being able to sacrifice some of the “want” items on a budget is pivotal to make way for the new school year expenses. For example, a student may need to skip going out to eat so that they can put that money towards books needed for the semester.  

Simple swaps to save money

It is important that students are able to swap something they really want for something that is more affordable. Keeping in mind that many students don’t have a job or have part-time jobs, they are not going to be able to afford expensive things. Giving students a list of affordable substitutions to certain activities or items will allow them to be aware of the less pricey option. By providing this list, we encourage and hope the students will pick more affordable lifestyle options. Examples of reasonable ways to live life as a student are: 

  • Buying school books off of Amazon or Chegg tends to be more affordable than the college book stores 
  • Spend money at places that offer student discounts 
  • Eating earlier to take advantage of happy hour specials 
  • Rent a Redbox movie or find a digital download instead of going to a theater 
  • Google clothing stores that have current discounts going on and shop there 
  • Doing at home workouts instead of purchasing a gym membership  
  • Download the Pocket Points app to earn discounts at multiple companies by being phone-free during class 
  • Carpool with a friend or family member to shared destinations 

Developing a budget creates financial awareness

Developing a budget is worth the time so that students can be aware of where their money is going. Once they are aware, then they can begin to evaluate if that is where they want and need their money to be going. Nelnet offers budgeting worksheet that is available to the public. Sharing this with your students allows them to be more fiscally responsible. Ultimately, this could result in the university, to which they attend, being paid on time in regards to tuition, books, room and board, or other miscellaneous things.