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Making Every Dollar Count

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My name is Samantha; I am an intern at Collegial Services, a career placement and consulting firm in Danville, CA. I am currently in my second year of college, and college is expensive! Tuition is not cheap, as we all know, but what about everything else? Housing, textbooks, groceries/meal plans, gas/public transportation and activities. These all add up extremely fast and before you know it you’re in debt at the age of 19. For those of us that are already working part time while attending our classes, it is extremely important to budget and save every dime you can.

Here are a few ways I have learned how to make every dollar count:

When looking into buying textbooks don’t forget that these books will, most of the time, only be needed for the duration of a semester or quarter. Why spend hundreds of dollars on pieces of paper that you’re only going to need for 3 to 5 months? So look at all of your options when it comes to materials for your classes, look at different websites and bookstores. Rent the textbook when given the option, unless you know you are going to need it for your classes in the future and you wish to make notes in the margins. If you have to buy the books for your classes sell them back to the bookstore or online. Check out, they will save you hundreds.

Next is learning how to budget. Make a spreadsheet and list out all of your budget categories, such as rent, shopping, eating out, groceries, entertainment, etc. I know it sounds boring but it will make your life so much easier. For your first month input all of your expenses and see how much you are spending versus how much income you are earning. Once you see how much you spent your first month you will have a better understanding of your finances. And if you believe you spent too much, cut from the extra activities first - don’t go out to eat as often, or maybe you didn’t need those new shoes. Don’t make impulse purchases, don’t go to the mall with your friends if you know you don’t need anything (window-shopping only suffices for so long), and never go grocery shopping when you are completely out of food and hungry. Try using the envelope system. Determine an amount for each budget category and put that amount in cash in an envelope every month. Once that envelope is empty, you are done spending in that category.

I know this might all sound tedious, but it is very important that during your college years you learn tips like these and others to help make this transition to living on your own easier. Be sure to still enjoy your time in college, but just remember that college doesn’t last forever. It will end someday and we will be released from school and thrown out into the real world. So budget, understand your finances and spending habits and know your options when it comes to attaining textbooks. Start yourself off on the right foot and you’ll always be thankful you did.

At Collegial Services, we connect college students, business professionals, and the organizations that hire them. Founded in 2010, a WBENC certified woman owned business, we offer business consulting and career development coaching, along with internship and job placement services. In short, We Launch Careers.

402 Railroad Ave., #201 ♦ Danville, CA 94526 ♦ 925-818-2280 ♦

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