You have probably heard a joke about broke college students and always eating cup ramen or some other comment about how students cling onto their last dollar and make it stretch. As funny as they might be for those not living that reality, those joke situations can become really stressful when you’re actually looking at your bank account balance and wondering how you’re going to pay for this, that, and the other thing that you need this week.
When you’re already dealing with the stress of being a student in the first place, with papers and exams due practically every other minute, you don’t want to have to worry about money, too. Making the grade can be hard enough for many people, and when schoolwork suffers due to financial stress, it can feel like a no-win situation.
Financial worries are something that is bound to come up in your academic life at some point, so you may as well get used to dealing with them. Following our top tips for managing money stress while still in school is the perfect place to start.
It might seem simple, but budgeting is the simplest way to manage your stress since you already know where some of your money is going ahead of time without needing to look and check to make sure you have enough.
Are you planning on going out with your friends to dinner off-campus on Friday? Then, it might be best to skip that lunch you usually have on Wednesdays that isn’t included in your meal plan.
Put Some Away for a Rainy Day (or an Emergency)
Sometimes, things go sideways in ways that you might not have planned for in your budget. That’s alright! As long as you realize this ahead of time and plan emergency money into your budget, then you can still stay afloat.
It might seem strange to have an emergency fund that stockpiles money added into your budget but think of it as training for a 401(k) or more adult savings needs when you leave school and enter the workforce.
It’s money you won’t see until you need it, but you’ll know it will be there for you when you do.
Take Up a Low-Stress Side Job
You might already have a job on-campus if you’re a student, but there’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of freelance work on the side.
For example, if you’re an artist and you have the time, you could open commissions on Twitter, Tumblr, or another social media site where people pay you to draw their wildest (within your guidelines) dreams.
If you’re not so much of an artsy type, then that’s okay, too. This list has some great alternative ideas for a secondary source of income that won’t eat into your studying time too much.
Remove Other Stressors
If you’re already stressed about money, then you don’t need to be stressed about a toxic relationship or an optional commitment that you made where your responsibility could be easily shifted to someone else.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist, for example, can really take up a lot of your time and cause you to become stressed over the little things in order to appease them.
Stop worrying about them, and leave them to their own devices. Get over the stress of having been in a relationship with a narcissist and focus your attention on other things, removing that extra bit of worry from your life entirely.
Things like planning ahead, avoiding procrastination, and keeping low-drama people in your life can help you remove other stressors and focus on living your best academic and financial life.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.