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20 Ways Not to Go Broke While Still in College

20 Ways Not to Go Broke While Still in College

If you’re about to head off to high education, or you’re already neck-deep in it and trying to figure out how to avoid going broke, check out these 20 methods that will keep some scratch in your pockets.

1. Employment: Maintain a real or digitally-based job.

Even part-time is better than being broke. If you can, try and secure a job working on-campus before you show up freshmen year, and then do whatever it takes to keep that job throughout college. Those 4 years of employment history will keep some money coming in (that isn’t a loan), and look fabulous on your post-college resume.

2. Budget: Huge slice of life here.

If you don’t learn how to budget money before you get out of college, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s simple. Just figure out exactly how much money is coming in and going out (bills & living expenses or needs). Then, use the wonders of budgeting to steer clear of going broke.

3. Avoid dating.

At the end of the day chasing down lovers is not only time consuming, it costs a fair amount of money. It’s so easy to spend money in an effort to increase your chances, right? Make education and managing your money your top priorities first.

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4. Invest: Invest some money the day before you head off to college.

Put it in something you can’t touch until after your expected graduation date. That way, you’ll earn a little passive income, and no matter how much is in your wallet, that investment means you’re technically not broke.

5. Start a web company.

Get some friends together, combine your skills, buddy up with some computer science kids and start a web company that offers any kind of simple web-based service or product. Create a lean tech-savvy start-up from your dorm rooms!

6. Save: Go into “save money” mode.

Since you’ve decided to master budgeting, dedicate yourself to saving at least 20% of your monthly income. It could either go into a “pay off loans” investment or account, or into a savings account so you have cash if you need it for emergencies or asset purchases.

7. Spend Wisely: You need to protect your money.

Learn that as soon as possible. The sooner you learn this life principle the less time you’ll have to spend wallowing in debt or being broke. See the clear difference between a want and a need. Be aware of why you are tempted to spend money. Don’t spend tons of money one tiny superficial and pointless purchase at a time.

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8. Reduce Loan Principles: Be smart about it.

If you’re taking on loans, read the fine print. Know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and take advantage of all realistic options available to you while in school to reduce your principle. When you’re not paying off the principle, is interest accumulating. If so, this is eating away at your monthly income even though it doesn’t seem like it.

9. Don’t use debit or credit.

There are two schools of thought here. One preaches that college students should use debit and build credit (there are banking institutions on many college campuses now). The other says it’s a bad idea. Debit cards make it too easy to spend money and credit can be vicious! Debit is easy to avoid, and in reality the credit needs for a college student should be almost non-existent.

10. Avoid fees.

Fees are literally everywhere you turn, and if you don’t know about them, you end up paying them. Many can be avoided by simply knowing of their existence. Start making it a habit to be fee-aware and avoid the unnecessary ones. Over 4 years, all these tiny little fees all over the place can really add up.

11. Grow food.

If you’re one of those students that rents a house and you’ve got some yard real estate, grow food! Seeds are cheap, gardening is easy, so it’s basically free food.

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12. Get free stuff.

Speaking of free, get all the free stuff you can and in college–there’s lots of it.

13. Get discounts.

: Students also get tons of discounts of tons of things, but you need to know of their existence and then take advantage of them. Seek them out. Become a bargain shopper in college!

14. Apply for free money.

Apply for free student money–for books, for classes, for tuition, whatever. You would be shocked to see how much money is given away to college kids every year. The trick is finding out about them and then taking the time to apply. Every little bit helps.

15. Hang with other broke people.

If you want to save money and live a lean lifestyle, stick with the like-minded.

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16. Rely on family & friends.

If you are lucky enough to have family and friends to rely on, then do so. Everyone knows you’re trying to better yourself and get ahead in life, so when they offer help, take it.

17. Barter

When you’re in college it’s a great time to start learning how to leverage what you have. When an opportunity to barter arises, capitalize on it.

18. Mobile Usage

Know how much your smartphone and mobile habits are costing you and keep them under wraps!

19. Pay bills on time.

Pay your bills on time, because it can lead to reduced rates, good payment history, better credit and all else.

20. Use the Internet

Set up a profile on one of the major freelancing websites. Become an affiliate blogger while in college. There are countless ways to make money online in your spare time!

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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