Life of a student can be unforgettable and exciting, but it is also a huge change. Not only will you have more academic obligations, but you’ll also have to leave away from your home – most likely for the first time. This is a big deal for everyone, especially for a young person who has never before paid the bills or managed a household. So, before you hop on that college or university train and start studying or reading books, you need to go through this short student’s guide to living on your own.
Living on Your Own – How to Juggle Everything
The student’s life gives you a leap into the world of academics, adults who have to take care of themselves. It will be an amazing experience, but also somewhat of a cultural shock when you first move away from home.
This is the time to broaden your horizons and truly immerse in the student’s living situation. Here are some tips that should help you adjust to this:
1. Create a budget
Learning how to handle your money won’t come easy at first. Unless you are a highly organized person with habits of saving or organizing the family’s budget, you’ll have some troubles with this at first.
The idea is to start organizing your budget as soon as you start living on your own. Make sure that you know how much is going in and out, where you can get the extra cash, and what you can eliminate from your list of spending. This should help you pay your students debts and your bills without leaving yourself penniless.
2. Start budgeting right away
Once you know how much you can afford to spend and on what, learn how to live on a limited budget. Even if you can afford more, it is better to try and pay off the student’s loans instead of just wasting your money.
There’s no need to buy the expensive books or shop in the most expensive places. Learn how to save some money. Shop with coupons and online, get used books, use the library, and as to do your assignment online instead of waiting until the last minute.
It is best to group your expenses into different spending categories. This will help you organize your budget and give you an idea on where you can save a couple of bucks.
3. Learn to cook
You don’t have to become a chef now that you are cooking for yourself, but this doesn’t mean that you should spend all your money on junk food just so you don’t have to cook anything. Learn a couple of basic meals that will help you eat a nutritious diet. This will be highly beneficial for your health and your figure, not to mention that it will help you save a lot by not ordering in.
4. Get a job
One of the best ways to get independent – and fast – is to find a part-time job. Most students undertake this challenge to supplement their budget and ideally, get rid of a portion of the big student debt. Moreover, when you earn some money on your own, you’ll be able to allow yourself the little luxuries, as well as boost your resume for future employment. Not to mention, you’ll even get to build a nice skill set and a work habit by starting small.
Nowadays, finding a part-time job is simpler than ever. You can work in a nearby store or a restaurant, or even do some freelance work like dog walking, babysitting, etc. Or, you can easily go online and start applying for freelance gigs. This should give you all the flexibility you need and prevent your work from interfering with your studies.
5. Tackle the bills ASAP
As soon as the bills come to your mailbox, take care of your debt! This is one of the dark sides of being an independent adult, which means that you should build a healthy habit as soon as possible. In order to avoid the bills from flooding in and turning red, make sure to keep them organized and pay them in time. As soon as you get your income, pay the bills first and purchase food. These are the essentials. For the rest, you can organize your budget afterward.
6. Use your credit card responsibly
If you’re 18 years old, you can apply to get a credit card in your name. This will give you a chance to build good credit that you may later use to get a mortgage or buy a house. However, if you want this to happen, make sure to use your card responsibly. Don’t waste more money than you can return. Pay off your bills entirely on the same date every month. Cut back on the unnecessary expenses.
7. Keep your home safe and clean
Even if you live in a low-crime area or a dorm, you still have to lock your front door and close your windows. Your safety must always come first, especially now that you’re living on your own. Not only do you need to take care of your valuables, but also of yourself.
Without your parents around, you’ll be responsible for tidying up your home. So, make a cleaning schedule and stick to it. The cleanliness of your home is now your responsibility.
Congratulation! You’re taking a huge step toward becoming an independent adult. This is a great moment of your life. To make it easier, use this guide for easy adaptation and better college life.
Connie Elser is a financial advisor. She works for private companies and individuals by helping them set their budget and find a way to spend their savings wisely. Moreover, Connie frequently gives free advice for budgeting in her online blogs.