We continue our college series and today we'll be sharing how your college student can budget, with the help of HP and we also share a very cool back to school project, our very own DIY Tie-Dye Canvas Shoes, which also helps with budgeting. If you want to read the others in the series, click on the label college on the bottom of this post and you will be able to read it all.
The joys of being a college student, you are an adult now and time flies by so quickly. All of a sudden you have a huge appreciation for all that your parents provided to you, because today you are the one in charge of finances. If you had parents who were super good with money, then you probably will have no problems, learning how to budget in college, but if you are like most young adults, this whole learning how to budget money is a skill you have yet to master. Today we will share some money tips for college students so that you can learn how to budget those funds wisely.
Separate Needs and Wants
Make a list of all that you need and want each week or day. There is such a thing as daily needs; food and drink are among those daily needs. Be realistic in what you classify as a want versus a need. This is the part where you will learn some self-constraint. A bottle of soda every day may not be a need; rather a preference. A preference can be listed as a want. Sit down to take the time to create a list of needs versus wants and remove all wants from your budget.
Create a Budget Spreadsheet
Sit down to create a budget spreadsheet, have columns set up for dates or week 1, 2,3,4 so that you know how much you need to allot in finances towards needs each week. On the left hand side list out your monthly bills and daily needs. Consider rent, gasoline, college supplies, food and other consistent bills you may have on a regular basis. Calculate each bill down to a weekly number, match weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 with that total. If you get paid bi-weekly or monthly, adjust the week columns appropriately. Stand firm with this budget spreadsheet, use it as your guide to financial survival while in college.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
When you work to manage your money and learn how to budget while away at college, you will have a lot of instances where trial and error come into play. You will want to maintain realistic expectations about your spending habits as a means to ensure you stick to and manage your finances appropriately. This means you must take into consideration miscellaneous expenditures that come up as well as some leisure time money. You deserve to plan in some entertainment with your college budget too, just do so sparingly and realistically.
Shop Smart for College Supplies
Whether it is food or textbooks, there are many websites set up to help you save on the cost of college supplies. Start researching where you can get the most for your money, this will free up some extra cash in your budget spreadsheet for some wants too. Look for online promo codes and sales sites geared strictly towards helping college students save money. Think about investing in a tablet so that you are able to use online textbooks, these are by far cheaper than textbooks at the campus store. Learn to shop smart for college supplies to stretch your college money the farthest. Another necessity is a laptop that you will need to do your college work. Since most college students don't have a ton of money, you want something that is not only economical but dependable and has the features that you will need.
I recommend getting an HP laptop computer which you can find easily at Walmart in their electronic computer department. These NEW computers enable you to do so much more and best of all they are affordable. My son and I went looking and he fell in love with the HP 15-ay041wm. This comes with a 15" HD screen that has a really vibrant display that will allow him to view his photos, videos and web pages in vivid detail. With a 1TB of hard drive space and the latest Intel Processor, I feel secure knowing that he has enough memory to multi-task and store his work, and I won't have to buy him another computer in a year, because HP stands for quality. After all they've done over 200 tests to make sure that his computer passed their quality performance standards. What more can a mom ask for?
Another way to budget is to make your own stuff as I like to say. We recently saw some really cool sneakers, but they cost an exorbitant amount so Madison and I recently decided to make our own. Not only will be a great gift for all back to school students, but you're also still budgeting. I remember growing up, I would write on my canvas sneakers as I'm sure most parents have done in the past. This can also be a bonding time for you and your back to school student. This project is inexpensive and doesn't take a very long time either, just three simple steps, so go for it!
DIY Tie-Dye Canvas Shoes
1. Start off by designing your canvas shoes with your markers. You can do it whichever way you want. Madison and I made them into big blocks of color as shown below.
2. Using a dropper add some of the alcohol onto the color of your shoe allowing it to blend into the other. I found that using the dropper took too long, so I decided to just pour the alcohol onto the shoe and that worked out great for us!
3. Place your shoe to dry, which takes about an hour, or less depending on the weather outdoors.
That's it! Easy peasy!
Now you have your own too cool for school sneakers that you didn't spend a ton of money on, that is unique and one of a kind and you also have your HP computer that didn't break the bank. You've got your budgeting skills on fleek!
If you like your HP computer like my family does, be sure to visit Walmart to share your thoughts! Encourage other families to shop smart this back to school season with your online review.