Budgeting Tips for the Bootstrapped Online Student
Being an online degree student is not easy in any way. Add to that the need to manage finances, such as paying tuition, textbook costs, household expenditures, etc., and it all may seem like a heavy-duty responsibility.
Effective budgeting and planning, however, can make even the seemingly herculean task of managing finances as a distance learning student something that you can conveniently control.
- Assess Earnings and Expenditure
Nobody but yourself is the best judge of your cash flow situation. Are you earning a comfortable six-figure salary? How many dependants do you have? Are you paying mortgage too? Such are the questions you need to ponder over when you analyze your income against expenditures. If what you spend on exceeds what you make, it is time for some serious budgeting and planning.
- Cut Down To The Bare Essentials
If you’ve been walking a tight rope when it comes to financial management, it may be time to reassess your expenditures and bring it down as much as possible. For those with relatively lavish lifestyles, this may be a little difficult, but you have to make sacrifices if you want to get that online degree. Housing, utilities, food, healthcare, etc are essential expenses that you cannot cut down; but dining out, cable television, shopping too much on credit cards are non-essential expenses that you should strive to bring down.
- Set A Portion Aside For Unexpected Costs
It’s always a good idea to keep some amount aside for emergency funds and other unexpected costs. And it’s not just medical emergencies we are talking about. Sometimes, your computer system may crash down and you’ll have to get it repaired. Sometimes it may be a household maintenance cost that will have to be incurred. Such things don’t tell and happen; keep a portion of your earnings aside for some peace of mind at that odd hour.
- Check for Flexi-payment Options
Flexibility is probably the best thing about an online degree. And many schools offer this flexibility for paying tuition fees too. Before enrolling yourself for an online degree, check if the school offers flexi-payment options that you can avail. If you are already a part of an online program, ask your school if such an option can be facilitated.
Proper planning and budgeting can make financial management easy for you. A lot of discipline will be required, but it’s nothing you cannot do.