You may be wondering what money has to do with wellness. It turns out that money and the lack of it both have the ability to impact our mental and physical health if we give them the power to do so. Try these tips to improve your relationship with your finances and prepare for your future income now.
Face the facts.
Do not hide out from your financial reality, no matter how scary it is. Being ignorant may feel good in the moment but it will cause underlying anxiety about money now and regret later. Know how much you have or expect to borrow for school, what you have in savings, what you owe elsewhere and how much you make.
Part time jobs can be important tools for personal and career development and can greatly reduce your student loan debt as well. Remember that every penny that is easily borrowed is going to be paid back by your future self, with interest.
Put your money to work.
After you work for your money, put your money to work for you. Decide where each dollar is going. Is it going to groceries, education, or savings? By assigning a “job” to your money, even when living on a student income, you make it your tool and not the other way around. This also makes saving for bigger goals more realistic.
Spend and save wisely.
Being smart with your money does not have to mean never buying a coffee or enjoying a movie, but it might mean making coffee at home most days. It may also mean enjoying matinees or free events with your student ID instead of going to see a late night show at the cinema.
Even big purchases have varying degrees of value. A spring break trip to Vegas might not be a wise expense, but a study abroad trip for credit that can go on your resume might be.
Oftentimes we give in to the impulsive purchases we want now instead of thinking of ourselves in the future. It might be fun to drive a new car, but it might be more fun to drive a used car and pay it off sooner, freeing up that car payment to spend or save elsewhere.
Have a plan.
Measure your income against your expenses and see how you come out. Do you have some left over? Great! Save it for a rainy day, buy next semester’s books, or save it for student loans. Are you coming up short? Time to cut some expenses or look at options for summer and part-time work.
The act of simply logging in to your bank account and checking on the balance often can have a positive effect on your saving and spending habits.
Check your balances often not only to keep tabs on what’s going in and out but to prevent fraud or identity theft as well. This awareness of your finances can also help to keep you from over-spending.
Beware of “deals”.
When living on a limited income the idea of saving money and getting a “deal” is tantalizing, but buyer beware. Are these deals needs or wants? Great deals often make wants appear as needs, prompting you to spend more money than before.
Are they causing you to spend more than you have, sign up for a credit card, or make a decision that you are not 100% confident with? If so, maybe you should think twice before taking advantage of the “savings.”
Will this “deal” enhance your education or help you in a significant way or is it simply slick marketing? A product may be marketed as a great help to your education, but is it really? These are questions to consider before making purchases.
Treat and entertain yourself without breaking the bank.
Make a list of ways to care for yourself that are free or low-cost. Get some exercise by going for a walk outside or by using the NSU workout facilities instead of a gym membership. De-stress with some cuddly time with shelter pets by volunteering at the Humane Society to walk dogs or brush cats. Enjoy a spa night at home with a tub of warm water and some inexpensive lavender scented bath salts.
Luckily, you won’t be living on a student budget forever. Be patient with yourself and your career. Take time to enjoy the people and experiences you have in life right now at this very moment.
Some day you will eventually have those loans paid off, have money in savings for retirement, and fond memories of cooking ramen and scrimping by with your friends at NSU. Better to be financially conscious now so you can be financially comfortable later.