How University (and college) Students can Improve Their Finances

By and large, students overspend and end up always broke- not unless he/she knows how to make money on the sides.

Yet, cumulatively, comrades receive a lot of money over the 4-year (or more) course period.

From HELB (which is a repayable loan by the way), upkeep money from parents, and small amounts milked from relatives and buddies, some students may blow as much as shs.500000 by the time they graduate.

But why do people overspend on campus (and college) yet they’re not earning? And what can comrades do to improve their finances?

  • Peer Pressure

A stay in campus is made more fulfilling by their inner circle.

Unfortunately, these same friends can trigger unwarranted spending and quickly drain the little cash that comes a learner’s way.

But why is this?

The pressure to keep the Jones happy is too much.

A student will attend a bash, party out the weekend, and even organize a private party just to look like everyone else and keep everyone smiling.

Not to even mention that comrades want to dress exactly like their Facebook and Instagram heroes (Vera Sidika, Dj Mo, and Size 8).

Peer pressure also causes students to make bewildering money decisions such as renting sleek off-campus self-contained apartments alone over cheaper singles houses just to make a statement.

By the time they realize it, they are faced with yawning holes in their wallets and have no much choice but to pray for lady luck to smile on them from somewhere and come with loads of cash.

  • Too busy studying (so don’t find an extra source of cash)

 In countries like the USA, undergrads study and work part-time.

You will find them waitressing, driving uber, or giving tuition.

But in Kenya, the universities discourage side hustles claiming that the scholars have too much workload.

Of course, the coursework comes first but there’s a great chance of securing some few hours every day with proper planning.

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  • Stress

In some cases, freshers find life in college rough and stressful.

Select courses such as medicine could also have a bigger workload and seemingly overwhelm some of those joining them.

Also, broken relationships at the school directly affect personal choices among learners on the issue of spending.

So they go out clubbing and paying bills for everyone, or go shopping for the latest clothes or take other irrational actions on the premise of nursing their depression.

  • Procrastination

Certain students keep postponing assignments and course projects until the very last minute.

This forces them to hire a colleague (at a fee) to assist or even outsources their projects to cyber cafes (and ‘consultants’) at a fee.

  • Boredom

Again, when confronted with unscheduled leisure hours, comrades may decide to browse online shops like Jumia in their quest to find distractions.

Obviously, it’s super easy to fall into the temptation of buying the latest Infinix smartphone due to the convenience of online shops and Mpesa.


How college Students can better manage their money

  1. Learn to say no

There’s no simpler way to explain this. To save their bucks, students must know how to refuse to bow in to peer-induced expenditure.

Whether it’s an ‘exclusive’ invitation to dine out, attend a beer party, or go to the coast, saying “no” could help improve a learner’s lifestyle.

On the same note, social media should never influence your money decisions. Just admire what’s posted, ‘like’ it, and don’t even bother asking about the price.

In any case, the kabua’s and Ali Kiba’s of this World are already earning- even from their social media pages- while you’re still under your parent’s wings.

  1. Don’t Make any Financial Decision when stressed

When depressed, people throw caution to the wind. They can’t maneuver the emerging temptations and easily fall prey to marketers.

Yet, splurging impulsively on non-essential items today will translate to a broke tomorrow.

A student could even lack money to purchase something genuinely crucial like rent tomorrow because of the Flat Screen TV they bought yesterday.

They only wake up to their mistakes when it’s almost too late and facing monumental budgetary constraints.

Thus, comrades should look for alternative ways of handling their emotions away from the wallets.

  1. Distinguish between needs and wants

University and college students should strive to get their spending priorities right- even before anything else.

An easy formula for here is to first separate needs (an item necessary for survival) and wants (a desired product which isn’t a must-have).

A learner should create a list of his/her most important products and use it as a guide for future purchasing decisions.

For instance, a laptop is no doubt an educational requirement but it’s not a must you go for the latest or luxurious model (expensive).

But an occasional treat isn’t a grave mistake. Far from that but the thing is only to indulge in your wants when you can really afford to.

  1. Budgeting

A budget is a powerful tool for tracking expenses and can help reduce stress in financially overburdened students.

By planning your monthly payments, including an occasional fling, students will get the bigger picture (and run from random spend).

kenyan university

  1. Develop Credit discipline

College-going students sometimes abuse their credit apps.

They borrow from Tala, Branch, Mshwari, Mwananchi credit, and more.

Eventually, this will be wallowing in deep debt and costly interests such that he/she will still be repaying long after graduating.

Students should, instead, first evaluate if borrowing is the correct decision and once convinced, fix limits on the amounts they can borrow.

Then, he/she should have the self-discipline not to borrow to buy things beyond their reach.

Still, they should settle their full credit balance when it’s due to avoid losing more money on exorbitant interest.

  1. Learn to Share

Old-fashioned DIY purchasing tactic of partnering with college-mates can bring more savings.

Share rooms (so the rent), cooking budgets, and even birthday cakes (if the two of you have).

Students taking the same course can similarly strike deals and purchase costly coursework materials under joint-ownership.

In the long-run, sharing saves big money.

Final Thoughts

It’s true that students sometimes overspend.

But with determination and commitment, learners can pull up their money management socks and bring their finances under control.

Engaging in recommended money management practices like budgeting and separating needs from wants are some of the crucial steps.

Students should also avoid procrastination and build a sharing culture.

Read: how to make money in kenyan university

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