In college you have many life lessons outside of the classroom; how to work with a group, sharing a space with someone you just met, getting used to being on your own, etc. If you are like myself, you also learned the hard way that the national bank of mom and dad are no longer available, and you’re on your own! Don't stress out! I'm here to help, and tell you a few tricks I've learned over the last four years.
If you get a student refund do NOT spend it all in one day! Instead, sit down and make a list of all your expenses in a month starting with necessities like rent, utilities, food, prescriptions, etc. Add that up for the month and then multiply that with the number of months left until winter break. Keep in mind this will be an estimate. (What I do is I plan my electric to be higher than what it normally is just in case.) If you have left over money, you could either set some aside each week to treat yourself to something, or you could save it in cause of an emergency.
Now let’s say that you don't have money left over. Do not panic, there is time to fix this. You can get a job through Student Employment a couple days a week. There are a lot of job listings on Mountaineer TRAK on campus and off campus. Just make sure you manage your time wisely so you have time to study. Remember, school comes first!
Another tip: If your rent is due on the first of the month, keep that in mind for January. You may not be in town when rent is due, so plan ahead and make sure that is taken care of so you can avoid a late-fee.
Now, this next tip you don't have to do, but this helped me. Even though I set aside
money on paper, it was still in my bank account that I used every day. So if you
are like me, and you don't always balance your checkbook, you need to be more cautious of your
spending. What I did was I opened a new checking account and only put
in money that was meant for rent and bills. I also signed up for automatic
electronic payments for my bills. After the first time of forgetting to pay
a bill, I also wrote it down on a calendar, and set up alerts on my phone.