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Manage Your Money, Manage Your Life

If you’re like most college students, you aren’t living a life of luxury. You’re spending money on tuition, housing, food, clothing and entertainment. And you’re likely earning minimum wage at a part-time job or possibly a paid internship — if you’re lucky. Don’t stress out. With some smart budgeting hacks, you can avoid eviction, ruined credit scores, malnourishment and lack of a social life.

Get extensions. Not for your hair — for your bills. If you lack the cash to pay your rent, talk to your landlord. Maybe you’re just a little short and can make a partial payment or devise a payment plan. Same goes for overdue bills. Call the bill company to see how much you can pay to stay in their good graces and out of trouble.

Reduce your credit card debt. Use cash whenever possible — it will help curtail spending. No more money in your wallet? End of shopping spree. If you’re using credit, pay credit card bills in full each month — if that’s not realistic, at least be sure to always make the minimum payment. And if you have good credit, ask your credit card company for an interest rate reduction. Hey, it’s worth a shot.

Cut back on expenses where you can. Are you paying for a gym membership and not using it or cable when you could use a cheaper streaming service? Think about the things you can live without. You can always add them back when your financial situation improves. And swap expensive habits for economical ones. Rather than buying pricey concert tickets, go to free outdoor concerts and fairs. Or learn to prepare meals at home and invite friends over instead of eating out at restaurants.

Think hard about your needs and wants — and how you’ll pay for them. Make a list, then make a budget and stick to it. And don’t wait until the end of the month to see how you’re doing. Keep track to stay on track.