Managing Money in College

Juggling College and a Part-Time Job

Create a schedule to benefit from both

College student working in coffee shop

Being a college student can be stressful. Studying itself can be full-time work, not to mention time spent writing papers, partaking in extracurricular activities, and spending time with friends and family. When you add a job to the mix you may feel completely overwhelmed. One of the keys to staying calm is time management and making your studies and your job work for you.

Try to Prioritize

Committing to your studies and to your job is half the battle. You'll want to consider taking stock of what it is you are seeking to accomplish with your studies. What are your ultimate goals after finishing school? How long do you need to complete a degree? You could set a deadline and determine how much financial aid, if any, you qualify for and make sure you pay attention to the timeline for financial aid. If your studies are your first priority, treat them as such, and create a financial plan around those needs; this may mean cutting down on your work schedule.

Build a Calendar Early

Once you've outlined your goal, you can be deliberate about a strategy. Choosing your class schedule so it fits in two or three set days of the week is a good option for many, because keeping classes to particular days means you can dedicate the other days to work. If possible, you might want to consider working just 20 to 25 hours per week so you are less likely to risk affecting the quality of your studies.

Outline a Budget

It's smart to focus on the future. And remember, everything you do today can affect what happens tomorrow. Understand what your expenses are, including tuition, books, food and transportation. Balance those expenses with your projected income and any loans you may consider to pay for the difference. An online calculator can help you crunch the numbers. 

Find a Job that Works for You

If you are able to work in a flexible job with a boss who understands your student status, this will go a long way toward keeping your stress level down, and allow you to concentrate on your studies. You can also look for a job that complements your degree.

If you know someone who works in a field you're interested in, ask if you can shadow them or work part-time assisting them. You could get some much-needed experience in your chosen field while (possibly) earning money to pay for school.

Make a college plan. Make it happen.

Learn more about the different ways to plan and pay for a higher degree.

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