Many habits people have are nothing but money traps that will ultimately do nothing for a person except cause an addiction to form and a piggy bank to break. We all know the habits that I’m talking about. It is these destructive habits that form during our youth, especially during college, which often plague people for their entire adult lives. Habits form our character and eventually make us the person who we are. A habit with a $200 monthly income will be 10 times or probably 15 times magnified with a $2000 income. Money has a way of amplifying character traits. You may think that your habits are your little get away from the stressful college life, but any habit reinforced will form a character trait. Is it any wonder why majority of people go deeper into debt with an increase in income?
Whether your vice is drinking, smoking, or even something simple as buying a lottery ticket every day, it has no place for someone who is trying to obtain an education and better themselves financially (not to mention spiritually). I would much rather save money by not forming addicting habits. However, as with most things in life, the choice is ultimately yours. If you want to make the change, make a list of these habits that are costing you nickels and dimes. And while holding yourself accountable to a trusted mentor, and begin to form new habits by the words you speak and decisions you make, that will overrule these habits.
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
2. Make a budget.
Yes. I know a budget sounds boring. A budget sounds like something that old senile great aunt Mildred would give you every Christmas. “Oh no, not another budget!” said little Timmy. Ok, I took that too far. On a more serious note, budgeting is one of the most important things that you as a college student will do. You have to learn to plan for what you will receive, and for what you will have to give out. Not only will this help you now during college, but budgeting skills will also help you for the rest of your life. By budgeting you can hopefully master the art of making a little go a long way. If you can track what you spend your money on, it will help you to cut frivolous spending and will make you more accountable every time you pull out your wallet.
Also with making a budget you have a good picture of your financial condition. Humans tend to do better with pictures. You will also be able to release your faith towards God for a your daily bread (Matt. 6:10-11)
You can learn how to create your first budget here
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5
3. Get a job.
Let’s be honest here guys, it is not that difficult to juggle a job and college at the same time. Unless you are studying Nuclear Brain Manipulation Surgery at M.I.T., you should be able to pull at least a few hours a week at a part-time job. But if that does describe you than Kudos! Personally, I am taking 18 hours this semester and working at least 30 hours a week. Now, I don’t say this to brag or make myself out to be better than I am, I only say it to make my point.
Now this is not written to advocate toiling, thank God man has been redeemed from a life of toil, and by the blessing we are able to be fruitful and productive in life (Gal. 3:13,14). However there is a place of wise use of one’s time. Too often we’ve heard the saying “time is money”. So if one is not able to manage time, then it’s a good pointer as to why there are financial difficulties. Making a decision to effectively use the time available to you puts you on a path to overcoming financial hardship as a college student. Really, balancing school and work is not impossible, it may not always be fun or easy, but it is not impossible. It is pretty obvious how getting a job would help you to have income while going to school, but it also helps you to gain more responsibility in juggling priorities. If you can’t handle college and a part-time job, you might want to rethink having a family and a career.
“How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:9-11
4. Be a giver
Yes. It appears I have just contradicted myself, but let me explain. Money is ultimately nothing but a concept that we give value. While it is a concept that we should be good stewards of, we should not take so much pride in our wealth that we hoard it all to ourselves. I am not saying that you should go out tomorrow and give away your life savings to the first homeless man you see. I am saying that you should find joy in routinely giving away some of what you do have, even if it is not much. If you don’t feel comfortable giving cash away to needy people, then find another outlet. There are plenty of ways to give. You could buy groceries for a needy family, buy Christmas gifts for less fortunate children or sponsor a child through an organization such as World Vision.
The Bible in so many different places teaches on the importance of giving, as a matter of fact, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). When you give, you position yourself to experience overflowing blessings from God. Jesus Himself taught concerning giving in Luke 6:38. Your giving positions you to receive in a good measure, pressed down shaken together and running over. Your ability to receive is dependent on how deeply you have imbibed the concept of giving.
I encourage you to find a way for you to give back, I am confident you will be glad that you did. If you don’t learn how to part with some of your money, it will become a stumbling block between you and the Lord.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24
Obviously, these are just a very few guidelines to help you on your quest to balance finances and college. I encourage you to explore other options available to you and utilize what works best for you.
Be blessed, follow me on twitter @MoyoMamora