By Peris Waithera

We know things aren’t normal at the moment and it’s not clear if we’ll ever see “normal” as we knew it again. But students are going back to school and college (remotely), and you need ways to keep a lock on your money.

Get to know your net income
First, your income needs to add up to more than your spending. If it doesn’t, you’re spending money you don’t have. You may be working a part-time job or internship to help pay for your education and be able to afford your everyday expenses. You might also have an income from grants, loans, or a monthly allowance from your parents. The amount of money you get each month is an essential part of your budget and creates the foundation for how much you can be able to spend.

Get to know your spending habits
In addition to the first, you shouldn’t be getting into unnecessary debt. Credit cards offer the temptation of cost-effective spending, with the pain of payment deferred for months (or even years), but don’t fall into that trap. The new item of clothing may seem great now, but it won’t be as enticing when you’re paying 20 percent interest on it long after you donated it to goodwill.

Set a budget
Setting a budget can be hard. It asks you to be mindful of your usual spending and face your actions. But the purpose is that you’ll be able to understand where your cash goes and if you’re using it accordingly. Use your budget as a way of learning what your weak spots are so you can set rules to combat them in the future.

Saving is important for two reasons. One, you never know when an unexpected crisis could occur. Two, saving proactively for major expenses like vacations, events, or studying abroad can empower you to avoid using your credit card or taking on more student loans, helping you stay out of debt and trouble.

Invest in what will save you money
Part of saving is eliminating unnecessary recurring costs and expenses. Buying food storage containers is an incredible money-saving idea. It is much cheaper to feed yourself on a week worth of groceries than to order out time and again.

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