Nelson Mandela once said, “Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as future leaders.”
The said quote from Mandela is very promising.
However, as much as we seek to achieve the highest educational attainment possible, our financial resources may not be that stable at all times to support educational expenses.
Because whether we like it or not, education rarely comes free.
Now, if you were among those struggling to strategically pay off your tuition fees every semester, just keep going!
Do not ever give up no matter how difficult life may seem. You may feel that your dream is obsolete at times or that the toll is already too much to bear, but remember this: There are and there will always be a way for you to achieve the degree that you dream for.
In this article, I will share some tips on how to get through some financial bulwark, especially for those who are self-supporting through studying and working at the same time, just like me.
Where are these money tips coming from?
The money hacks that I will be writing in this blog are all based from experiences, observation and research.
As already mentioned in my posts 5 Hacks of Working and studying at the Same Time and my About Page, I am currently an analyst in a financial industry while studying law in the Philippines.
I am self-supporting my law education after my father passed away in 2017.
Aside from that, I also send my sister to senior high school. She will be graduating this April 2019 so I will be funding her college education this coming next school year (Yes, this is probably a struggle.)
And one more thing, since we Filipinos are very family-oriented, I also help my mother, more on financially, in raising my two other younger siblings.
With all these experiences on my plate, I can confidently say that I have something thoughtful to share regarding financial management, particularly for working students.
For you to determine your financial plan, it is necessary to figure out what your current state is.
Know the estimated amount of money that you need every month. This already includes your daily allowance, emergency fund, books fund, tuition fee, coffee allowance and all other expenses you deem necessary.
For instance, you have a monthly salary of 22,000.00 PHP. Here is a sample of a monthly expected expenses:
Depending on your income and things necessary to spend on, you may just adjust it accordingly.
Make sure to be honest with what you actually need to spend on. I understand that listing down your monthly dues may be mentally and emotionally consuming but you have to face that reality.
Knowing where you are at the moment and facing that circumstance helps you find out what your best action plan is. Failure to exactly lay out your expected dues may just result to budget burn-out or spending more than what you should.
Learn how to cut down unnecessary expenses
Now that you have listed down your monthly budget, it is time to figure out how to make all ends meet. It is not really necessary to cut some things out if you think your income covers your planned budget.
However, take note that living so tightly within your budget is very risky. The market is every now and then increasing, prices of goods are rising, and of course, coffee shops, from time to time, release new blends that you do not ever want to miss.
So, giving a little leeway to your monthly cash flow would make your life a bit at easy.
In the budget plan that I have above, 22,000.00 PHP monthly income is unfortunately more than the minimum average of some employees from either private or public employer.
The fact that you are still a student makes it more possible that your rate is much lower, especially if you only have a part-time job.
Good thing though if you were a student professional, which means you have already earned a degree and just pursuing a higher education like law, masters or doctors degree, most likely you will be getting more or less than the stated salary range.
But take note of this: “It does not matter how much you earn. It is how you manage your finances.” So, do not worry if you got less, we can still deal with that.
Thus, whatever your salary rate is, that is okay. Let us deal with what you actually have.
So assuming you have that 22,000 PHP. Let us figure out how to cut some things in order to spend less than what you earn.
Pack your own food to school and or work or eat healthy food in a lower price
Lessen eating in fast-food or any expensive restaurants. This habit would certainly debunk your financial plan. Instead, pack your own meal or eat healthy food in a lower price.
If you were living with your parents or relatives, that is much better.
They might be able to help you prepare food. But if you live independently, either go to easy-to-cook food or buy in local small restaurants which offer good food in a much lower price than in fancy restos.
In the Philippines, we call these small food vendors as “Karenderyas” or “Street food.” Just make sure to be a bit meticulous with the resto’s sanitation.
STUDY AT HOME or AT THE LIBRARY as much as possible
Coffe shop lovers! I know! I understand! I used to be one of those coffee shop addicts.
I preferred to study in Bo’s Coffee, Starbucks or any nearby coffee shops to prepare for my daily class. And trust me, with your 1,500.00 PHP coffee budget, that would not be enough.
Before, studying in coffee shops, I thought, was effective for me because aside from it is cozy and not to mention socially appealable, I liked the idea that I studied with other random students. It pressures me to study more when I see my unknown seatmate seriously flipping the pages of his or her books.
And when I tried to study at home or at the library, at first I was uneasy. I felt like I really need that boost from Bo’s or Starbucks.
However, I still tried to study daily at home, cleaned my desks and found a corner where I can comfortable internalize laws and cases. Later on, I got used to it.
Borrow books, rent or buy pre-loved books
To save some peso from your 15,000.00 pesos book allowance, only buy brand new books should your school requires it or there is no other way for you to buy it in a much lower price.
In my case, if the book is not very needed for the bar exam, I just borrow books from the library for free and take down notes.
In this way, during review time, I do not need to go through all the pages of the books. I just have to review my notes and read again the entire pages only when needed.
Take advantage of your office’s Wi-fi or free Wi-fi
Studying nowadays is impossible without an internet connection.
To save on this expense, what I do is have my research during my break or lunch time at work since we have free internet connection at the office.
At school, I also avail the free Wi-fi connection. In malls, I take advantage of their free Wi-fi (haha). So you can do the same, too.
Pay your tuition in full as much as possible
Paying your tuition in full qualifies you for some tuition fee discounts. Able to get a less of 10 -20 % from your full tuition fee is already a very good move.
Practice paper-less or use your own printer
With the trend of technology, you can save some peso through refraining from printing costs.
As long as you are comfortable to read and review through your mobile phones or laptops, then that is good.
Just make sure to activate your light filters or wear anti-radiation glasses to not hurt your eyes.
However, if you are like me who really wants something to be printed, then you may print using your own printer.
If you print that often, like how law students print cases or case digests, it is recommended to buy your own printer. There are second-hand but still in good condition printers that are available online.
It is unavoidable that during breaks or lunch time, your colleagues or classmates will ask you to have some food in somewhere expensive.
Going out is fine as long as you are within your means.
If you think you don’t have anything extra spared for the day, then you have all the right to say “No” for good reasons.
Grow your Money
Since you have learned how to save from your expected expenses, it is time to know how to grow your money.
As a working student, do not settle with the idea that you will be working forever.
Somehow, there should be a time for you to resign from work and just focus on yourself or maybe you will venture into other opportunities that either add up your income or makes your work easier.
Hence, it is very important to let your money grow.
With your 5000.00 PHP monthy savings plus the savings that you earned from cutting down your expenses, you might already have enough on hand to invest your money for future use and gain additional income to live a more comfortable life.
Should your savings suffice, you may even just resign from work and momentarily focus on your studies until such time that you earn a degree and hopefully grab a high-paying job.
There are more than hundreds of ways to multiply your money. But I will limit my tips to what I know and some I have tried so far.
Invest in Stock Market or Mutual Fund
Investing in the stock market or mutual fund is for me the best option for working students.
With this strategy, you do not need to spend so much time to earn money. In short, you earn a passive income.
If you are the type who likes to manage things on your own, go with the stock market. This investing strategy takes a little of patience, research and analysis.
But do not worry. If you wish to know more, start signing in with stock market practice trading app where you can study charts and practice trading in the real market even without actual money yet.
As for me, I practiced with Investagram, with the aid of my friend who is more familiar in the stock market trading. I also made effort in researching and reading blogs from other stock market freaks.
However, if you have no time for this, invest with mutual fund.
With this, you only have to invest your money to a pooling company. It is the company that will invest your money to stocks, securities or bonds. Any profit therein will be shared between you and the pooling company with a rate depending on your agreements.
Use your skills to earn or get a freelance job
Freelancing is very rampant nowadays. You might want to take advantage of your skills.
Like for example, you love writing. If you have some spare time like week-end or holidays, you may spend your one or two hours earning some cash.
You may visit websites like Upwork, Freelancer and Peopleperhour. There are so many potential clients online. All you have to do is search and you’ll find them. Some clients pay you 500.00 PHP for 500 to 1000 words article.
Invest in small businesses/ Be a capital provider
Being a working-student is not easy in terms of time. But just in case you have enough time, you can open small snack bars and maybe just look for someone to manage it in your behalf. Like someone from your family or anyone you have trust on.
Be a re-seller for online clothing, bags, lipsticks or accessories online
No matter how busy you are, nowadays, you may still have some time to surf the net.
Now, instead of spending your spare time watching YouTube or stalking your crush in social media, you may share items for re-sale wherein you can earn some profits.
As easy as one click, you might find a good buyer for your sale items.
Save or invest your raises
If you are doing fine with your monthly budget, once you get bonuses or salary increase at work, save your raise or invest it.
You may splurge yourself if you want because you definitely deserve it. Just make sure to pocket some amount for savings.
LOVE AND BE HEALTHY
In most life hacks that I have written, I always include something about love and health.
HumanS as we are, we do have our own struggles. But no matter what that challenge is, even including money, never forget to love and be healthy.
Loving is the best asset that you neither pay for nor afford to buy (although sometimes it does, but ideally it should not be the case).
It is something that is freely given and freely received. If your heart is full of love, you are more likely motivated to save, invest and achieve your heart’s desires.
Likewise, if you are healthy, you avoid hospital fees, medical bills and all other therapy expenses.
If you have this both, you are more likely focus on growing what you have and reaching heights that you desire to fulfill.
Remember that no matter what our status in life is, we can all succeed fairly.
Working students may need to effort a little more than full-time employees only or full-time students only, but if we remain consistent with our plans and dedicated to our goals, we can all reach same level of education, whether we did it full-time or part-time.
Best of luck!
-I hope this blog can help and inspire my readers regardless of where they are from or whatever they do in life!
For Life and Law is also open to any article contribution which will potentially inspire others-