There comes a point in every young person’s life when they can no longer rely on their parents to pay for what they want and need. For some people, this starts happening in high school with having to pay for food, clothes, or gas. Other people can hang onto their parents funding all through college. Others are suddenly cut off once they graduate high school. Everyone’s situation is different, and ultimately depends on your parents’ (or guardians’) discretion when you have to start surviving on your own. No matter what, though, you will probably reach a point where there is something your parents won’t help you pay for, and you’ll have to figure it out on your own. Here are some tips for dealing with this.
Know What Matters
When you suddenly find yourself having to pay for things on your own, you need to realize that you can’t have everything you want. You are a college student with, in the best-case scenario, a part time job that pays slightly above minimum wage. You will probably no longer be able to buy everything you did before, so you may need to make an adjustment.
Take Advantage of What’s Available
At college, you’re surrounded by cheap and even free stuff. One way to do this is to take advantage of your college’s meal plan. Though the food may suck, using every single swipe or point (or whatever system your school uses) can save you money by not wasting it going out to eat. You’ve already paid for that food, so you might as well use it. Another way to save money and still get things is to buy clothes secondhand. If you need an article of clothing, see if your school has a page where people sell things. You may be able to buy it there.
Sell What You Don’t Need
Have a box of clothes you never wear? Sell them. Literally have anything you don’t want? Sell it. No matter what it is, there is probably someone looking for it. Again, if your school has a page for selling things, take advantage of it.
Find a Job
This is more of a long-term fix than a short-term one. If there is just one thing your parents are refusing to pay for, it might not be feasible to find a job in order to pay for it, especially as you won’t be able to get that money for a while. However, if you are now paying for everything, a job is definitely something you should look into.
Talk to Your Parents About an Allowance or Loan
It may make you feel like you’re in middle school again, but even college students can have allowances. If your parents are still paying for some things, let’s say food, but you don’t have to buy as much food as you were anticipating, see if instead of paying for each individual item they will be willing to give you a designated amount each month. Then, what you don’t use on food you can put towards what you are trying to pay for. Another option is to ask your parents to give you a loan. If you need money fast and have no way of raising it yourself, this may be your only option. If your parents are willing to give you some money, take advantage of the opportunity, but know that you will have to return the money. Set a date that you will pay them back by and be sure to actually do it, or you may find yourself in a situation where you have no access to money if you need it.
Being financially independent is not an easy thing to do in college. You’re entering into adulthood and suddenly realize how much the world costs. And, unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to pay for everything you want. It can be difficult to get by without your parents’ financial support, but it’s a step everyone must eventually make.