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School, Work, and Finances: Finding the Balance
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Jessica (She/Her)
Financial Educator
Posted September 23, 2021
For many college students, this is the first time in your life where you are in charge of your own money and finances. Paying your own bills, buying your own groceries, working a part time job, and juggling school. All of those things can mean one word: stress. Today, I want to share some tips with you that may help you juggle the workload and keep a handle on financial stress.
Working a low stress job you enjoy
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Finding a good job on campus, or nearby that offers a positive work environment and is supportive of your school schedule can make a huge impact. With a majority of your time spent in class or studying, finding a job that allows you to not overexert your brain could offer the break your mental health needs. If you are currently working a job that leaves you overly stressed, or has hours that don’t align with your schedule needs, it may be best to look for a new job or speak with your manager about schedule adjustments.
Learn to budget your money
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The word budget can often times leave a negative connotation in your mind that your spending or money will be restricted. In actuality, budgeting is the exact opposite. Budgeting empowers you to be more conscious of your spending habits and leaves you more in control of your money.  Think of your budget as your plan to financial success.

Setting up a budget is a simple math equation. Add up all of your sources of income, including employment income, parental support, scholarship income, etc. Then, jot down all of your expenses and things you spend your money on. Do you have any bills you pay? Do you buy your own groceries or pay rent or utilities? Do you swing by the local coffee shop three or four times a week? Whatever ways you spend your money, write it down and total it up.

Now it’s time for our math equation. Take your income and subtract your expenses. Ta-da! You have your budget. There are three possible outcomes. If the number is positive, it means you are making more money than you are spending. If the number is negative, is means you are spending more than you are making, and you might need to make some adjustments to your spending. Or you might break even, which means you are living paycheck to paycheck. This is a great opportunity to take a look at your expenses and see where you are spending your money and if you can make any changes.
Using your time with intention
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Time goes by so quickly. We can go from pouring a cup of coffee in the morning to leaving our last class at 7:00 p.m. in what seems like the snap of a finger. This is why spending our time intentionally can help us stay organized and complete the things we need to day-to-day and still have time left over to enjoy life.

Start by prioritizing your tasks, classes, homework, job, etc. Once you have your priorities in order, make an effort to stick to those priorities. Then, consider things you do daily that maybe wasted time. Do you sit on social media for hours scrolling? Can that time be spent in other ways? Lastly, plan out your time. Did you schedule thirty minutes into your day for things you enjoy? It’s all about creating balance. When you have balance in life, you can spend your time intentionally. This can dramatically reduce stress, which in turn can help you juggle the load of college, work, and managing your finances.
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