Being able to live on your own requires a stable income. Money is one of the top stressor’s adults face, so learning important skills and protecting your financial future when you’re young is a great idea. Although you may not be able to avoid every fiscal pitfall in life, there are steps you can take to give yourself a solid foundation while you’re in school.
Start Sticking to a Budget
Budgeting apps like Mint can help you learn how to track your money and make smarter choices. When you’re young and likely relying partially on others, it’s easy to consider any extra cash you have as spending money. But what if you put it into a savings account instead? How much could you save per year if you downgraded your streaming subscription to a cheaper package? When you think about these things and determine exactly how much money you’ll spend each month, you’ll also be able to save more. Even $50 each month leaves you with $600 a year.
Pay for Your Own Education
One of the greatest debts people have from their parents is college tuition and loans. Although it’s wonderful if your parents have savings and are willing to help you pay for your degree, you may want to consider whether you could do it yourself. Research private student loans that you can take out without a cosigner. This will put you solely responsible for the debt and give you greater independence from your parents.
Get a Part-time Job
Whether you can only work over summer break or hold down a weekend job, it’s important to establish your own stream of income as soon as possible. You’ll no longer have to ask your parents for spending money or rely on anyone else to pay for your living expenses. Part-time jobs for college students help build important skills like time management and self-discipline. You can even explore jobs online that you can do right from your laptop, whether you’re hanging out on campus, in your dorm or in your bedroom at home. If you have any talents or skills like copywriting or coding, you could even consider looking for freelance gigs.
Build Your Own Credit Score
Apply for a student credit card that you can use to pay for small expenses like food, entertainment and gas. It’s best to choose a card that you can pay off monthly, which raises your score without putting you too far in debt. You could also become a joint cardholder on your parents’ card, which will reflect on your own history. Explore your options carefully and pick a card that has a good reputation, valuable rewards and makes sense for your budget. Just remember that credit cards are not free money. You owe what you spend and then some thanks to interest.
Think About Where You’ll Live
You may not move out until you graduate, or you could be wondering where you’ll go after you leave the dorm. It’s a good idea to start researching the cost of rent and living in your area now. The earlier you start to save up to move out, the easier it’ll be to find a place that works for you. You’ll need a stable income for your rent and monthly utilities, but there are other costs to consider, too. Your security deposit, renter’s insurance and personal expenses like loan payments are all part of the picture. Saving now will give you a greater cushion to start building a budget as an independent adult.