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Learning From Home

Learning from home may be the preferred option for some students, but others who find themselves starting remote learning unexpectedly may find this transition to be challenging. No matter your preference, this change can bring new challenges and opportunities–especially for your wallet. Learn how to make the most of it with these tips.
Child at a table doing school work at home

Whether you’re experienced with college life on campus, or are starting your first year, transitioning to remote learning is going to require some adjustments—not only to your daily habits but to your spending habits as well. To start your school year off right, take a moment to revisit your budget and account for changes to your expenses and income.

Expenses

While you may get the benefit of saving money on some expenses that are less necessary, like gas or a campus parking pass, it’s important to anticipate what other costs may arise so you don’t get caught off guard with new bills. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Utilities: Increases in water and electricity bills may occur with more time spent at home. Budget a little extra to start and keep an eye on your bills the first few months to get a better idea of what your new expenses may be.
  • New furniture and supplies: Unless you had a desk or study set up in your house previously, you’ll likely want to get something arranged to create a successful learning environment. Keep in mind this arrangement may be temporary so consider looking for used or discounted furniture online.
  • Entertainment: How have your social activities changed? Do you still need to budget for restaurants or concert tickets right now? Take advantage of those temporary limitations in your social life to add some funds to your savings.

Income

How has your income been impacted with remote learning? Maybe you were able to maintain your part-time job, or no longer have access to a work-study position on campus. Re-evaluate what your current income is, and how it compares to your expenses. If you’re finding a gap, and are unable to cut any flexible costs like streaming services or food delivery, look for ways to increase your income that fit with your school schedule:

  • Part-time income: Consider remote or part-time gigs, like online tutoring or grocery delivery. The rise in demand for new services can provide new jobs that you may not have considered before.
  • Financial Aid: Ask your student services office for available income opportunities that you can apply for, like COVID relief funds, student loans or awards.

More Money Saving Tips

  • Use budgeting and money management apps, such as Mint or Nerd Wallet, to help you get a better grasp on your finances.
  • Take advantage of all the different student discounts available. While you may not be flashing your ID in person, don’t be shy about asking about available discounts on electronics, streaming services, insurance, cell phone service, retail purchases and more!
  • Consider buying used textbooks or renting your class materials instead.
  • Having unlimited access to your kitchen and pantry all day can be problematic for your budget. Plan out your meals and snacks each week to avoid overspending on food.
  • Pay all of your mandatory expenses on time to avoid late fees.
  • If you’re having a hard time paying your mandatory expenses, it never hurts to ask your landlord or utility providers for a discount or the removal of late fees.