Top 10 Tips on Dealing With Financial Difficulties During College


College is often synonymous with financial difficulties. Everybody knows how hard it sometimes can be for students to manage their finances and find the proper source of income. Not only are financial difficulties among young adults associated with the inability to properly set the budget but also with fewer financial opportunities that college students can reach. The following blog post will tell you 10 tips on dealing with financial difficulties during your college years.

Financial Struggles

College is the time when you face a new-found freedom, which comes with many different experiences, not only good ones. It’s the time when you face the need to learn how to manage your finances for the first time, deal with a tuition fee, pay for textbooks and housing, and also manage daily living expenses. No wonder students sometimes feel overwhelmed with all these complications and struggles. On top of that, not many students can really make much money during their college years. There are fewer job opportunities, especially when you need to balance academics and jobs, have no job experience, or do not have enough spare time.

Managing your finances can be really hard for those who are not acquainted with budgeting. That’s why it’s important to focus on developing crucial skills in finance, time management, and critical thinking when it comes to college years. You will surely also need all these skills after graduation. So approach your academic path as another chance to learn something new not only for your field of career but also for your daily life.

Here are a few tips that you will surely find useful when managing your finances and dealing with financial difficulties during college.

Creating a Budget

The first step to managing your finances is creating a properly set budget. Every budget consists of two main categories: income and expenses. Track your income, including scholarships, loans, help from parents, and part-time job earnings, to see what your opportunities are. Compare your income to your expenses. Categorize your spending into a few bunches such as rent, groceries, tuition fees, entertainment, health expenses, and misc. Write down how much money you spent on each category during a month or two to understand where you can cut corners and save.

Prioritizing Essentials

When money is tight, and your budget needs adjustments or corrections, it’s crucial to prioritize the categories of your expenses. Make sure you cover the most essential things first, such as tuition, rent, groceries, utilities, and internet access. You might need to avoid spending on non-essential items until you find additional income sources. It’s better to avoid dining out or making impulse purchases before you can manage your budget comfortably. Prioritization, in this case, helps prevent situations when you run out of money and can’t afford the basic necessities.

Applying for Scholarships and Grants

Even as a college student, you can still search for scholarship and grant opportunities that might help you reduce your financial burden. Many organizations, on-campus and off-campus, offer scholarships based on different achievements, such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, specific projects, and fields of study. Don’t give up on your research for scholarship opportunities, and always apply for as many as you qualify for.


Taking Advantage of Student Discounts

Many businesses, shops, online stores, service providers, and organizations offer student discounts. Try conducting a small research before you make a purchase. You can save money on a variety of products and services by doing so. Don’t forget your student ID, and always carry it with you wherever you go. You never know which place might provide you with a discount or a special deal. Such categories as public transportation software subscriptions, textbooks, gadgets, etc., might be quite expensive, but yet you can save on them if you do your research first.

Buying Used Items

Sometimes, you can save on things like textbooks, appliances, furniture, or devices if you buy them from former students, online marketplaces like Amazon, or your campus sales. You can also invest in digital textbooks and rental options instead of buying new textbooks, which are commonly very expensive. Additionally, consider sharing textbooks with your classmates or using library copies when available.

Limiting Credit Card Usage

Credit cards are very convenient to use, and they can often seem like basically free money. However, this is not really true, and the abuse of credit cards can lead to debt if they are not managed properly. Use your credit card wisely, and always make sure you can pay the debt off in full each month. Choose a credit card with a low interest rate and student rewards. Make sure you monitor your spending closely to avoid high-interest charges when your payment is overdue.

Cooking at Home and Meal Prepping

Cooking at home instead of dining out can have great financial and health impacts. It’s useful to learn how to cook even when you have few options when living in a dorm. Plan your meals and create a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases. Consider meal prepping to save time during the weekdays. Simple and budget-friendly recipes can be found online and will not take much time or skill.

Utilizing Campus Resources

Your college might offer a variety of resources that you can take full advantage of. Many colleges provide free local services such as counseling, fitness centers, health services, etc. Utilize these resources as well as career advice when searching for a part-time job as your college might help you a lot in it. Studying in the library and attending a local cafeteria can also be money-saving options that will not significantly affect the quality of your life.

Building an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is crucial for everyone, especially for students with unstable financial situations. This fund will help you handle unexpected expenses such as health issues, urgent device fixing, or unplanned trips. Start small by saving a portion of your income each month and aim for at least $500. You can gradually build up your emergency fund to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses. Keep this money easily accessible and separate from your main bank account. These savings will provide peace of mind and financial security.

Finding a Part-Time Job or Freelancing Opportunities

Last but not least, it’s important to search for various sources of income and different opportunities that will allow you to ease your financial pressure. Some colleges offer work-study programs that provide part-time jobs for students. Alternatively, you can look for jobs on campus or nearby, such as cafeterias, restaurants, call centers, retail shops, etc. Don’t forget to prepare your resume and a pinch of patience as job serches might take time. If you have skills that you can put to work, such as writing, graphic design, and tutoring, that would be a great chance to make some extra cash. Freelancing also allows you to work from anywhere and establish your work schedule according to your preferences and needs.


Dealing with financial difficulties in college is surely challenging and stressful but manageable. You just need some careful planning and disciplined habits. So be sure to use our tips and implement them in your daily life to increase your income and stabilize your budget.