6 Essential Tips to Improve your College Finances

6 Essential Tips to Improve your College Finances
Sergio Guevara

Sergio Guevara

Head of Client Success at Gradehacker

College life implies many things. Adult experiences, a feeling of autonomy, and enthusiasm for the future. College life also involves new responsibilities, especially managing your finances. 


You should keep in mind that money is hard to come by and valuable. If you evaluate your college finances, you will learn how to manage money and how to prioritize the things you need the most. But at the same time, no one wants a boring day to day during these times! You should be able to have fun and spend your money wisely. 


Here at Gradehacker our work consists of assisting college students in different areas, such as coursework or exams. In this article, we will be sharing 6 essential tips to improve your college finances. These valuable tips will allow you to take matters into your own hands and transform your college finance experience!

1) A personalized budget will make your life easier

We know it can be quite the task, but making a budget of your expenses is the best money-management strategy available to improve your college finances. As the website, MoneyCoach says, ” a budget ensures that you will always have enough money for the things you need”. 

A personalized budget helps with knowing the exact amount you plan to spend on food, groceries, personal items, and any expenses related to your college classes. Your budget includes books, gas, and even grabbing a drink with your friends.

Once you have your budget, stick to it. Going over your budget should be avoided at all costs. The purpose of the budget is to help you keep track of your exact expenses, help you save money, and make the most of it. If you stick to the budget, we assure you that you will finish the month with a happy bank account.

Personalized College Budget

2) Adapt your lifestyle expenses so you can achieve your goals

You are facing the long and challenging road of a college degree because in the future you want a better life, right? Then you must adjust your lifestyle so you can achieve your goals. 

Expensive dinners and a new car. Are these things pushing you closer to your goal? Probably not. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in a while.

But think about it. In the long run, those small expenses add up quickly to be significant. Five dollars a day (that iced coffee or fast-food burger) end up being 35 dollars a week and then $140 a month. We know that you can find a better use of that money, so keep an eye on this.

3) Not all activities need massive dollar bills

You can limit your expenses by alternating some activities that otherwise would be costly. For example, you can bike to college or work. Instead of having an expensive dinner, you can have a DIY picnic with your friend at the local park. Or you can throw a house party with the collaboration of all your friends.

This is important because you can make a difference between what you WANT and what you NEED. 

If you spend less than you earn, you’ll be living according to your necessities. And in the end, you’ll end up saving and having more money because you know your responsibilities.

4) Credit Card Knowledge is a Vital Asset

Credit can be a fantastic tool for a college student if used right. However, you must be careful with your credit card expenses. Evaluate the pros/cons of every credit card so you can know which one suits you best.


CreditKarma is a website (and app) where you can find personalized credit card offers and loans. You can use this tool to know which credit card is better for your finances and how you’ll manage them in the future.

With CreditKarma you can choose the credit card with the lowest interest rate so you can avoid numerous fees.

Credit Karma

5) Know Where to Buy Your Books

College students spend an average of more than $600 per year on textbooks. 

We know that you want to use that money on other things, whether it’s spending or saving. So the best you can do is look for alternatives. 

Buy used textbooks or rent them on online platforms. Also, you can invest in a Kindle or iPad and buy the ebook version of the text you need, tracking the specific volume, or issue with the book’s ISBN. Using this strategy, you could decide on what books are more relevant to you in the long term.

Gradehacker recommends Chegg for renting books since it is easy to use and will save you a considerable amount of money. You can also try other cheap alternatives, like using your college/local library. Likewise, consider sharing used textbooks with your classmates.


6) Little Spending Equals Big Savings

The best savings happen when we choose cheaper alternatives to the products we use every day. 

Make your own coffee, buy the generic brand instead of the name brand. Think of all the things you regularly pay for but do not really enjoy to the fullest: gym membership, subscription services, or fast-food meals. 

In the end, you’ll end up having the same fun for half the money.

Be Smart About Money

Remember that money is not the only important thing in life and that there are many ways to have fun or enjoy life without spending money. 

After using these tips, you will clearly see the benefits of your finances. At the end of the month, you will have a happy pocket full of money.

You will begin to experience that wonderful feeling called autonomy. Plus, taking care of your money and knowing how to spend will open many paths in your life. Money-management will make you an extremely responsible and capable individual. 

We understand how stress-provoking financially managing while being a college student can be. We hope that these tips helped you and gave you ideas on how you can improve your college finances. 

Do you struggle with paying off your student loans? Check out our article on how to Pay Off Your Students Loans Without Feeling Broke.

Are you looking to save up on college textbooks? Check our article on the 7 Top Websites to Find Free College Textbooks in 2020.

You can also check our article to find 7 Best Helpful Websites and Apps for College Students In 2021

Sergio Guevara

Sergio Guevara

Sergio Guevara has been an avid essay writer and researcher for Gradehacker since 2018. He has helped countless non-traditional students with a plethora of subjects like literature, nursing, and history. Now as the head of the Client Success Team he’s constantly involved with SEO-driven content that can make the life of both non-traditional and traditional college students much easier. You can find him on LinkedIn

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