Ask any hostel student – financial issues are likely to be the topmost thing on his or her mind. Be it rent, stationery, books meals, clothes or the endless cups of tea, scrimping and scrounging to last through the entire month is a challenge for most students.
Living in a hostel is probably the firsttime that a young student is exposed to the real world – a place where you need to plan your own life and look after your own requirements, with no one to nag you or question you. Making this transition can, at times, be difficult for students. However, learning to manage money is beyond just finances – it’s a life skill that teaches you planning, organisation, prioritising, self- control, and most of all, responsibility.
1 Make a list of expected expenditure: If you want to handle your finances effectively, it’s important for you to be aware of what your requirements would be. Make a list of your expected expenditure at the start of each week or month and keep tabs on what you’re spending.
2 Be responsible with money: What matters is not just how well you plan your expenses, but also how responsible you are with it. Being in a hostel will require you to be extremely careful and responsible with your money.
3 Keep family involved with expenses: It’s a good idea to keep your family in the loop about where you’re spending. Doing so would foster a sense of trust and reliability.
4 Try and avoid crossing budget: It often happens that students tend to overspend at the beginning of the month and then have difficulties towards the latter half. Stick to your budget as closely as possible; avoid crossing the budget unless absolutely essential. Borrowing from peers is never a good idea.
5 Prepare for contingencies: Sudden expenses that you hadn’t accounted for can often spring up on you. Rather than getting overwhelmed by such unexpected requirements, try and be prepared for such contingencies.
6 Prioritise your needs: Categorise your needs based on how important and urgent they are. Always account for the more pressing requirements first; only then move on to other luxuries.
7 Maintain control: At times, you may be tempted to splurge a little at the spur of the moment. However, try to maintain a sense of self-control; prioritise your needs. Save up if there’s something you really want to spend on.
8 Treat it as a life skill: Once you move to hostel, you are responsible for your own self - for many, this will perhaps be the first time that they are in complete control of their lives. Use this hostel experience to learn how to manage your finances and your life. Managing money is a life skill that will hold you in good stead throughout your life.
The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare