Financial Goals For College Students – Do you think you are too young to set financial goals? Do you think as a college student, you are too young to manage your finance or save up money?
Well, as a college student, you actually need to set financial goals for yourself. You should know that college is a place that prepares and ushers you into the reality of life. You will have to prepare yourself for life from your college. If you want to start a business after college or you want to travel overseas or any other aspiration you have, you will have to start grooming yourself from college.
Financials goals are very important for everybody and for college students, it is equally important to. It will help you train yourself to be financially disciplined and intelligent.
You won’t be a college student all your life or you won’t be young forever. You will surely graduate from college and either start working or establish a business; whatever you want to do, the knowledge of managing your finance and setting financial goals will make it easier for you in the future.
Having financial goals even as a college student will help you avoid problems of managing your finance. Some students have many needs with little finance to cater for them while some others just have the problem of extravagance.
Well, you shouldn’t fret or panic as this article is actually for you. This article is going to reveal some financial solutions to you as a college student. If you are having problems of low funds, financial indiscipline or impulse spending, then you saw this article right in time.
The issue of finance management is a very important one for students because this will help them prepare for the future and life after school. There are many benefits attached to managing your finance properly as a student at any level especially college students.
As a student, cultivating the habit of budgeting and saving will help you prepare for any situation and also life after school. You have to be financially disciplined and set financial goals in order to manage your finance properly.
It is difficult to forecast future events accurately and so you have to prepare yourself financially through budget and savings. It is important for you as a college student to create a spending plan for your money whether it is allowance, gift or income (for student-workers)
You cannot afford to be extravagant in spending as this can make you to live on debts. You have to plan, budget and save. These three processes go hand-in-hand. In the process of planning, you are budgeting how you spend every penny that comes into your pocket.
When you are budgeting, you are trying to set out the best possible way to spend money without overspending thereby saving money.
This is a very interesting topic and so we have structured the topic into five sub-topics so as to make sure you grasp the information and make proper use of them to become financially stable as a student.
- What is financial discipline
- What are financial goals
- Financial goals for college students
- Why students should have financial goals
- How to achieve financial goals
What Is Financial Discipline?
Financial discipline is all about controlling your spending and working on yourself. When you have financial discipline, you will definitely be financially intelligent. Financial discipline is your ability to prepare a spending budget, control your spending and save in order to achieve your financial goals.
With financial discipline, you will be able to understand your finance and also how many comes in and go out of your pocket. Financial discipline will help you to understand how and why you spend money and also track your spend. This is a very important skill that everyone should possess and college students need to develop the skill too.
This skill will help you to become financially stable and also help you grow funds for your future. It will help you to keep money for the most important things.
But for you to develop financial discipline as a college student, you will have to have financial goals and plans too. It will help you budget and save money. Never think that you are too young to start thinking about your future besides being in college is your pathway to the future therefore you have to use this time wisely.
The first process of being financially disciplined is preparing a budget; remember a budget is a plan to help you control and track your spending. After preparing your budget, the second process is sticking to that budget. That is where the discipline comes in.
You have to be consistent with the plan and also committed to the budget. This is how you work towards being financially disciplined. It is not really easy but as a student, it will help you in managing your finance properly.
So start working on your financial discipline today.
What Are Financial Goals?
Financial goals are personal goals or objectives to help you track the way you spend and save money. They are goals and plans you set in order to help you save money and be financially free and stable.
These goals could be short, medium or long term depending on what you want to achieve. But whichever goal you set, it helps to build your character, discipline and confidence. Setting financial goals will help shape your future and prepare you for what lies ahead.
Financial goals range from cutting down spending to investing. It is anything you do to help you to be financially stable and as college students that want to have a great future even after college, setting financial goals is very important.
Financial Goals For College Students
- Living in college without debts
Can you actually stay in college without debts? Well, it’s not really easy but this can be your financial goal and if you are determined, you will certainly achieve this goal.
You can decide to apply for scholarship, financial aid or grants and also live within your income (money that comes into your pocket); all these will help you achieve your goal of not living in debts while in college.
Living in debts can be bad and if you keep up with the habit, it can be bad for your future and you will have a bad credit history which will make you less credit worthy. So even if you took a loan or credit, make sure you pay back on time.
- Graduating from college without debts
You can work on graduating from college without debts, this will help you enter into the real world properly and ready instead of trying to pay up debts you incurred while in college. When you have paid off every student loan and other things before graduating, then life after college will be easy for you as you wouldn’t be working in how to pay up any debts.
To achieve this goal
- Make rational decisions
- Spend less and on things that really matter
- Pay off debts while in school
- Apply for grants and scholarship
- Get a job
- Invest your money
If your financial goal is to invest in something that will yield positive results, you will have to look closely as there are lots of opportunities and businesses you can invest in as a college student. Though it’s not going to be easy investing as you might have little money to cater for yourself and trying to divert it to investing in a business will mean that some things will be left undone.
But this will be a great financial goal that will help you to be financially stable and ready for life after college. As a college student, you can invest in:
- Blogging and content creation
- Forex trading
- Crypto trading
- Affiliate marketing
- Social media ads
Some of these investments like blogging and social media ads need little or no money to start up.
- Learning a skill
This is really very important. Aside your career, you should definitely work on learning a skill. This could be your side hustle after graduation and you could even become self-employed.
Learning a skill will definitely help you while in college. If this is your financial goal, then you are on track. Try learning a skill and become perfect in it. It will help you make money even while in college and pay up some bills.
You could decide to learn a short or long term skill but one thing about this is that it will stay with you for life.
- Developing financial discipline
You can also set a goal on how to be financially discipline. It is very important for every college student. Being financially disciplined means your ability to control your spending and cultivating the habit of saving.
If you can actually develop financial discipline while in college, then you are already training yourself for life after college as you wouldn’t be having financial issue or problem of extravagance. You will know when, why and how you should spend money and you will also understand your cash flow.
- Preparing a budget on how much you spend and sticking to it
This goal is for every student in college, you will have to learn to prepare a budget. A budget will help you control and track your spending and it is not only about preparing a budget, it is about sticking to it; this is where financial discipline and control comes in.
You can prepare a weekly or monthly budget to help track your spending and plan how you use money. You budget will not only include expenses, it can also include savings and other financial goals you have for the month or year.
Having a budget will help you gain financial discipline and intelligence so you should learn to prepare a budget as a college student.
- Setting out an amount to savings and sticking to it
If you don’t really know what your financial goal should be, you can try to make saving your goal. What this mean is that you can set out an amount you would keep for savings every month and you will have to make sure you stick to this.
If you can cultivate saving habit as a college student, then you be preparing yourself for your future and whatever comes with it. Saving will help you prepare for emergencies and unforeseen events.
- Finishing college with enough savings
This is more like a long term goal and it is a very good goal to set for yourself as a college student. If you want to enter into the real world ready and equipped, then you should have enough savings graduating from college. It will help you if you want to set up a business venture, get an apartment and even to cater for yourself and not couch-surf.
Try to set a goal of graduating from college with enough savings and work on achieving it.
- Getting a job in college
While this has its own cons on you as a college student, it also has its benefits. It will help you in gaining financial freedom and becoming independent. It will also help to prepare you for life after college.
If your college allows students to get jobs, you can look for a job to help you meet up with some of your needs and save up some money too. You will also have to balance your work with your studies and so you know, it is going to be demanding and challenging but if you can cope throughout college, and then you will have an edge when applying for job after graduation as you already have work experience.
- Catering for yourself in college
This could also be your financial goal as a college student and it is a nice one at that. Catering for yourself while in college will give you a sense of responsibility and a level of independence and confidence.
You know that you have bills to pay and needs to meet and so you will be conscious of the way you spend money and try not to live in debts. This will also train you for life after college as you are already used to paying bills and fending for yourself. This financial goal will also teach you financially discipline.
- Establishing a business in college
If your college allow students to start up business, then you can actually work on setting up a business in college but just like having a job, it is going to be challenging and demanding. You will have to invest money, time and effort.
Having a business while in college will teach you a lot of things like risk taking, making rational decisions, creative and critical thinking and many other values. The goal can be establishing a business that will thrive and be successful even after you graduate from college. This goal is going to help you to be financially stable, disciplined and intelligent.
- Starting up a business after college
You can actually set a goal of starting up a business after graduating from college and you should know that it entails a lot of saving and planning. This is a wonderful goal to set if you don’t want to go about looking for job after graduating from college.
You will have to be physically, mentally and financially prepared for this goal in order to achieve it and mind you, it is a long term goal.
- Renting an apartment off campus
This can be a financial goal that will help you control the way you spend money. When you know that you have rent to pay for, you will do well to control your spending so that you will be able to meet up with paying for your rent.
Also living off campus will give you a sense of responsibility and independence as you will have to make decisions on your own and you are free to do anything you want as there will be no residence assistant monitoring you.
- Meeting and paying off bills early
The bills could be rent, tuition fees or any other fees. You can set a goal of paying for your bills promptly. It will help you be fully aware of what you have to do and work towards achieving it. It will also help you to live off debts.
- Paying off student loans early
Your goal can also be to pay off loans on time as this will help build your credit worthiness.
Why College Students Should Have Financial Goals
Like we have said earlier that it is very important for students to have financial goals as it will help them to manage their finance properly. They should be accountable for every dollar they spend. It goes a long way to prepare them for the future. There are a lot of benefits of financial goals as a student but we will be looking at a few of them.
- You will save money
When you set financial goals, you will cut down your spending and cutting down your expenses will help you have reserve for saving. There are two things involved. When you don’t spend; you save.
When you are trying to manage your finance, you try budgeting and the aim of budgeting is to control your spending so as to have something to reserve. It is very important that students save money as it will help you prepare for any eventualities.
- You will stay out of debts
Budgeting is a balancing act and a way of controlling your spending so as to manage your finance. When budgeting, you are balancing your income and expenses. When have a financial goal, you will spend money on important things and also have savings which will help you stay away from borrowing to meet needs.
You make plans for your expenses and make sure they do not exceed your income (allowance, gifts, wages etc.). When you are living above the money you get, you will definitely run into debts.
- You will meet your needs
For a student who has a budget, you will have to arrange your needs according to how pressing they are. Using the scale of preference in your budget will help you understand your needs and their priority.
With financial discipline, you will get to know your wants and needs and also differentiate them. Knowing the difference between your wants and needs will help you set your needs above your wants and meet your needs.
- You will prepare for life after college
Your goal could be doing well after college and a student that manages his or her finance properly has a chance of starting and thriving well after graduation. A student that has cultivated the habit of budgeting and saving while in school will not find it difficult to monitor and track his or her spending.
While in school, you will gain financial intelligence from consistently disciplining yourself and managing your finance and so you won’t have any problem with managing your finance after school.
- You will become independent
When you already have the habit of saving and you always save money, you will be able to meet some needs by yourself before asking for assistance from anyone else.
Your ability to manage your finance properly and gather up savings will help you cater for yourself and give you a level of independence.
In cases of emergencies, instead of running and sourcing for loans, you fall back to your savings. Savings ensure you don’t couch-surf at your parents.
- You will prepare for unforeseen events
When you set financial goals, you will want to manage your finance properly and also have savings and your savings serves as a succor in time of emergency and unforeseen events. The future is filled with uncertainties and cannot be predicted accurately.
You cannot totally prepare for the future but spending wisely and managing your finance will help you reserve money which will help you prepare for eventualities or emergency.
- You will control your spending
The process of budgeting will guide you on how to spend your money. As a student, setting a financial goal will help you manage your finance and this will help you cut down on your spending. You become financially conscious and overcome the challenges of impulse spending.
Your budget will help you know what you need and also spend within your money.
- You will maximize satisfaction
Since setting financial goals and managing your finance go hand-in-hand, you will try to minimize cost and maximize your satisfaction. Your resources are limited and so you allocate your limited resources to meet your needs in the best possible way so as to maximize satisfaction.
When you are accountable for every penny you spend and understand your finance, you always spend on things that will give you a maximum amount of satisfaction even when you spend less.
- You also have a chance at starting up a business while in school and after school
A student that always saves money can easily finance little businesses in order to start making money. You will not find it difficult to fund a business while in school as you will have enough savings to invest in your business.
Also, if a student has been saving while in school with a plan of establishing a business after school; it becomes easy for him or her provided he or she has been committed and consistent with proper financial management and saving.
- You become accountable for every penny
When you manage your finance or have a proper financial management as a student, it will help you to become accountable for every penny you get and spend. With proper financial management, you tend to understand your money better.
You become smart in your spending as you plan and make rational decisions. You become better at managing your cash flow as you track and monitor your spending.
How To Achieve Financial Goals
By now, you must have seen some financial goals for college students and also the importance of having financial goals. It tends to give you a level of confidence and independence too. We will be giving you some guidelines to how you can achieve your financial goals and get financially intelligent.
Without further ado, let’s get to the point
- Understand your cash flow and be in control
Many students do not really track or monitor how money comes in and goes out of their pocket. They are not always accountable for the money they spend. It is very important for you to understand and be in control of your cash flow in order to achieve financial goals you set for yourself.
Preparing a budget will help you record your income (allowance, gift, wages) and also your expenses. With this, you can get to understand your cash flow better and be in control of the way you spend and what you spend money on.
- You should plan and budget
You are not too young to plan or to have a budget. Planning helps you prepare for future events. Planning and budgeting goes hand-in -hand like we have said earlier. Also budgeting is a type of planning process. Budgeting helps you to balance your income and expenses.
You should always have a budget that will help you control your spending. Your budget could be daily, weekly or monthly. It could even be quarterly depending on how you spend. It gives you control over your finance.
- Know your needs and wants
It is very important that you know what you want and what you need so as to be able to differentiate them. You shouldn’t confuse one for the others.
Wants are desires or wishes to own goods or items that give satisfaction. Your wants are numerous and insatiable.
Needs on the other hand are what you cannot live without. Your needs are essential for survival. Examples can be food, clothes etc.
As a college student, your needs should come before your wants because they are essential for your survival and also your success. You can use the 50/30/20 rule of budgeting by Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi where they advised that;
- 50% of your budgeting should go for needs
- 30% should go for wants
- 20% for savings
Though, this can change depending on personal circumstances as human nature is dynamic.
- Adjust your habits and spending
The budget you prepare for yourself will only work if you want it to work. In doing this, you have to adjust your habits and spending. Check yourself very well and try to figure out a habit(s) that needs to be curtailed and also how to cut down on your spending.
Try to identify irrelevant expenses or unnecessary luxury and cut down on them. Spend on what gives you maximum satisfaction.
- Arrange your needs according to how pressing they are
It is important that you use the scale of preference as it will help you manage your finance properly too. The scale of preference is a list where you arrange your needs according to how pressing they are.
Your resources (money and time) are limited so you cannot meet all your needs at once with your available resources so you have to arrange those needs according to how pressing they are and attend to them on after the other. It will help you monitor and track your spending.
- Learn self-control and financial discipline
Like we have said earlier that financial discipline is the act of controlling yourself and your spending. Self- control is a skill that students need to have when it comes to managing finance.
Self-control and financial discipline go together. When you have self-control, you will find it easy to discipline yourself financially and organize your finance.
- Invest your money in online businesses
Most people are afraid of the risk of investing their money in a business and also students feel they are still young to invest in a business. You must have heard the saying that “as you lay your bed, so you lie on it”. You are never too young to invest and be an entrepreneur.
There are many online businesses you can invest your money into so as to yield more money. Some of them are;
- Blogging and content creation
- Social media ads
- Crypto currency and forex trading
- Affiliate marketing
- Get a part-time job
Before you think of getting a part-time job, you must have critically analyzed the positive and negative effect what having a job will have on your academics. You must first understand that schooling and working can be challenging and demanding; therefore you have to know how to balance studying and working so as not to affect your academic performance. See our article on “do student jobs affect their academic performance?”
Getting a part-time job will help you get more funds and cater for your needs and also be able save up money. Know your school schedule and how you can work alongside the school activities.
- Prepare for the worst but still hope for the best
What we mean is that you should always save money. Do not always be on the spending side. Cultivate the habit of saving. That is why it is advisable that in your budget, you should list savings as part of the items you allocate money to.
It will help you allocate a portion of money for saving alongside other expenses. Saving helps you prepare for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.
If you don’t have a saving account, you can open a savings account to help you save money.
- Don’t engage in impulse spending
You can easily get tempted to buy things you didn’t plan for especially when walking on the road and with money in your pocket or purse. It is very important that you do not engage in impulse spending.
Most items we buy by impulse turn out to be a waste. You should have self-control and discipline as to not buy or spend money on what you didn’t plan for. It will help you manage your finance properly.
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