• September 20, 2022
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 3 read

Campus Cash: How to Make Your Spending Money Last in College

The weather is starting to cool down, football games are on the horizon, and you’re making your way through the first semester of college. Whether you’re living on campus or commuting from home, it’s not uncommon to find yourself spending more during the school year. Between books, food, and everything in between, your wallet is getting pulled in multiple directions. That demand can make overspending easy, which is why it’s important to enlist some tried-and-true tactics to keep your budget on track

How to avoid overspending in college 

1. Create a budget

You can’t keep a budget on track that never existed. If you’ve never created one, now is the perfect time to do so. You’re responsible for your finances – potentially for the first time – and it’s important to know where your money is going and how much you’re spending. 

Apps like Money Management take out the guesswork by autogenerating a budget. Simply connect your bank accounts to get started. Then, use the dashboard to view your spend per category. You may notice certain categories are bleeding your wallet dry and can make accommodations in the future to prevent it from happening again. 

If you’re a visual person, you’ll love Money Management’s budgeting bubbles. Increasing or decreasing your budget in each category will cause its corresponding bubble to change size, helping you to identify necessities or big-ticket expenses. Bubbles will stay green if you’re within budget – or turn red if you go over. Plus, you can view past months to gauge improvement. More green bubbles equal better spending habits! 

2. Hunt for deals

Sales, coupons, and happy hour specials are all little things that can make a big impact over time. Take a second to strategize purchases and source coupons before hitting checkout. For the latter, you can find them by downloading your favorite stores’ apps. As well, some on-campus publications are available for free and include deals and coupons for local stores and restaurants. 

3. Identify spending obstacles 

If you’re overspending, it’s important to identify why. Pinpointing the reason will allow you to tailor self-discipline strategies to your unique needs. For example, some people overspend because they’re seeking a quick serotonin boost. While retail therapy may help you forget the stress of paper deadlines or class schedules, the benefit is temporary – and the monetary impact can have long-term consequences on your budget. Lean on campus mental health resources, friends, and family to keep your stress levels low instead of turning to your wallet for the answer. 

4. Nix temptation 

Don’t dangle a deal in front of your face if you have a hard time saying no. This may mean unsubscribing from promotional emails at stores you spend at, setting spend limits on debit cards, or forgoing a trip to the mall for a trip to the library. 

5. Use your resources

College campuses often offer a wide variety of resources that will keep more money in your pocket. For example, career centers open the door to resume and cover letter feedback, health centers stock commonly used medications and hygiene products, and libraries have computers and printers available for use. You can avoid spending on these items and resources by taking advantage of them for free on campus.  

General Electric Credit Union (GECU) can help you save, budget, and borrow smarter. You’re eligible for Credit Union membership if you attend school in select Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky counties. And yes, that means Bearcats, Musketeers, and more!

Improving the Quality of Financial Lives through education and resources is at the heart of our organization. That’s why we offer a wealth of complimentary ways to learn about budgeting and overspending, including Money Management (available to Online Banking and mobile app users), blog content on the subjects that matter to you, and on-demand webinars. Check out our Youtube playlist The College Experience to learn more about maximizing your first year on campus and choosing a major. 

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