Understanding Your Scholarship Package
Learning the details of your scholarship package can be both exciting and intimidating. As you start to understand what type of support you are receiving, it is important that you create a budget that will help you make the most of the resources you have. Make sure to note any deadlines, terms, and policies that come with your financial aid so that you can stick to the guidelines.
Additionally, you may want to consider any other discounts or cost-saving measures that might apply to your education. Researching student resources online, like discounted copy and tech services, can help put more money back into your pocket. Finally, creating a tracking system for your expenses can help you stay on top of how your money is being used and should help you adjust your budget accordingly.
Setting a Budget
Creating a budget is one of the key steps to successful financial management. When constructing a budget, consider your total sources of income instead of just your scholarship. Consider any part-time jobs you may have, any money from family or friends, or other sources of income. Break down your income into fixed expenses like rent, tuition, and fees and variable expenses such as shopping, transportation, and other necessities.
Once you have determined your sources of income and estimated your expenses, it is time to determine how much money you will have left to save each month. Setting aside money for savings, whether to build a rainy-day fund or to pay off loans later, is essential for successful financial management. A good rule of thumb is to save 10-20% of your income each month. Of course, the exact amount you can save will depend on your own individual income and expenses.
Utilizing Student Discounts
Student discounts are an amazing way to save money and stretch your budget. Many businesses, stores, restaurants, and even online retailers offer discounts to college students. It definitely pays to do a little research before making any purchases; just remember to ask if they offer any student discounts. Some companies may even have special deals exclusive to college students, so be sure to keep an eye out for those.
You can also take advantage of discounts while traveling. Student cards, such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and International Youth Travel Card (IYTC), are very affordable and provide access to a range of global discounts. These cards can help you save a lot of money if you plan on traveling often during your college career.
Tracking Your Expenses
Regarding your scholarship package, tracking your expenses is key to staying on top of your budget. After all, being able to track where your money is going precisely can make a worry-free finance plan—preventing any surprises from coming up. The simplest way to go about this is by keeping a spending diary and setting up monthly budgets. Take notes on where your money is going, with every expense explained and noted. Making sure every penny is accounted for makes good sense.
An even smarter option for tech-savvy students is to use mobile apps to hold themselves accountable. Most budgeting apps come with charts, graphs, and tracking elements so you can plot expenses and easily manage your scholarship package in a few clicks. They also let you set up personalized goals and budget-based challenges so you can make sure you’re staying within your means. To take it up a notch, try linking an app to your bank so you can assign expenses according to different categories and know where your money sits, budget-wise, at the end of the month.
Finding Additional Sources of Income
One way to stretch your scholarship money is to look for additional sources of income. Olen’s Law of Income states that you can never have too many income streams! A side hustle is a great way to top up your income, particularly when scholarship funds are limited. You can do things like taking surveys online, selling items on eBay, writing or doing freelance work, teaching a foreign language, or tutoring to earn extra money.
You may also be able to find part-time employment or qualify for financial aid through your school. Check with your university’s financial aid or student life office to get information about student jobs, internships, grants, and even loans. Knowing how you can bring in extra money can help you create a budget that will get you through college without putting a strain on your scholarship funds.