Home > Resources > Campus Life > Money Management > Money Management for College Students - Learn to Recognize Want vs. Need

Money Management for College Students - Learn to Recognize Want vs. Need

One of the most common ways college students sabotage their budgets is spending significant amounts of money on things they can do without. An important key of basic money management involves separating wants from necessities and limiting the majority of your spending to things you really need.

ADVERTISEMENT

The best way to understand your wants versus your needs is to track your spending. Without altering your behavior, write down everything you spend money on for a full week. Most people who engage in this activity are shocked to find out how much money they spend on nonessential items.

For example, if you purchase a gourmet coffee and muffin every morning, over the course of a week, you could be spending $50-$75 on items that many people would consider non-essential purchases. Spending money on things that you want can sabotage your budget, leaving you without sufficient funds to cover essentials.

Where and how you choose to spend your money is your personal decision. The keys to developing strong money management skills are to understand your spending, live within your means and to be sure that you have sufficient resources in the event of an emergency. Once you understand your spending patterns, you can make informed money management decisions.

Frugal Living as a Money Management Technique

The spending and saving habits that you develop in college are likely to stay with you throughout your adult life. This is one of the reasons that money management for college students is so important. Learning to live frugally is one of the most beneficial money management techniques to master.

Frugal Living for College Students:

  • Instead of purchasing expensive individually packaged food items, split larger packages with your roommates.
  • Learn to cook instead of eating out every meal.
  • Make coffee at home to take to class instead of spending $5 on a cup of gourmet coffee.
  • Master the art of thrift store shopping.
  • Plan inexpensive recreational activities such as hiking or picnicking.
  • Ride your bicycle or walk across campus instead of driving.
  • Take advantage of student discounts
  • Wait for movies to come out on DVD instead of going to the theatre.

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Top 5 Scholarship Application Documents to Keep Handy

December 8, 2021

by Liz Montenegro

So, you’ve found an awesome college scholarship and you can’t wait to apply! [...]

Jewish Student Scholarship Spotlight

December 3, 2021

by Liz Montenegro

We want to wish all of our Jewish students a Happy Hanukkah! May you enjoy lots of family time and laughter this holiday season. During your final nights of Hanukkah, we hope you get your fill of delicious latkes, dreidel games, gift opening and great memories. [...]

Hanukkah 2021: Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Jewish

December 2, 2021

by Liz Montenegro

Adam Sandler undoubtedly paved the way in bringing the celebration of Hanukkah to the forefront of pop culture with his wildly famous “Hanukkah” song debut in 1994 on Saturday Night Live (did you know there is now a “Hanukkah” Part 4?). In the song, Sandler draws attention to famous Jews in mainstream culture. You may be wondering which celebrities are observing Hanukkah this year. Before we dive into Hollywood, let’s answer the question of why these “eight CRAZY nights” are celebrated by millions of Jewish people across the globe. [...]