Rich Student Poor Student: Money Management Tips for College Students

money management

Is it helpful to know how to manage your money? Yes, without a doubt! However, for college students, this knowledge is vital. As young adults starting on the road to independence, they need to learn many things about planning their income and expenses. Money management is a pressing topic, and as your trusted companions in academics, we could not help but prepare you for this challenge. So read on to learn all about money management tips for college students.

Inspired by the bestseller book “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” this article will help you develop the right attitude toward money that will serve you well throughout your life.

money management tips for college students

Simple Money Management from R. Kiyosaki

A healthy attitude toward your income and expenses plays a crucial role in managing your finances. Contrary to popular belief, effective money management does not depend solely on the amount of income you earn. Instead, it’s about having the right mindset and attitude for your finances.

Robert Kiyosaki’s influential book ”Rich Dad Poor Dad” discusses the principles of such a mindset. Here, the author emphasizes the importance of financial literacy and understanding the difference between assets and liabilities. 

Assets generate income, while liabilities consume your financial resources. 

For students, this can be applied as follows. As a young person just starting on your path to adulthood, you may not (in most cases) have tangible assets such as real estate or a profitable business. However, your asset may be a part-time job providing enough income to cover your expenses. In terms of liabilities, the parallel is even easier to draw. As a conscientious person, you should avoid unnecessary expenses that you cannot afford or will not benefit from (this is not food, textbooks, or clothing). 

This approach helps you develop self-discipline in budgeting, set realistic financial goals, and consistently work to achieve them.

Top 10 Money Management Tips for College Students

Once you’ve adopted the right mindset and learned to value your resources and invest in assets rather than liabilities, it’s time to apply the tips to optimize your spending. Here are 10 financial tips:

1. Create a budget plan. A budget isn’t just a spreadsheet. This is your financial GPS. Create a budget by detailing how much you earn and where you spend it. This clarity ensures that your money is aligned with your goals and prevents wasteful spending.

2. Control your spending. Track managing your money to identify potential leaks. Modern apps and tools make it easy, helping you spot patterns, cut back, and stay on top of your finances. Use apps like PocketGuard, Goodbudget, and Spendee. They will help you establish a healthy financial balance.

3. Separate needs from wants. Prioritize your needs. You can still have fun, but distinguishing between real needs and immediate wants will help you discipline spending and balance your budget. Choose ways to have fun that don’t break the bank. OR! Set a limit on expensive outings, such as once a month.

4. Avoid high-interest debt. High-interest debt can be a tricky trap. Protect yourself by exploring alternative ways to manage your money spending to ensure your financial stability in the future. If you have a credit card, make sure you pay back the money you spend each month in full.

5. Create an emergency fund. Life throws surprises — be prepared. Set aside a portion of your income as an emergency fund. This airbag will give you peace of mind and protect you from unforeseen situations.

6. Cook and eat at home. Cooking is not just about recipes. This is one of the ways to establish healthy money management for college students. Basic culinary skills will help you save money by eliminating expensive takeout and mastering the art of preparing affordable and delicious meals.

7. Choose thrift stores and discounts. Textbooks, clothes, and other items can be expensive. Check out thrift stores, online platforms, and student discounts to cut costs without sacrificing quality. According to, students can use the platform to reduce their textbook costs by 90%. The resource offers both new and used books for purchase or rent. In addition, downloading textbooks to an e-reader or tablet can lead to even more significant savings.

manage your money

8. Unlock student discounts. Your student ID is the key to saving money. Take advantage of exclusive discounts from companies. It’s a simple gesture that can result in significant savings.

9. Look for part-time or freelance work. Juggling work and school can seem challenging, but part-time or freelance work can improve your financial situation. Find opportunities that work well with your schedule.

10. Invest in your financial education. Knowledge is a lifetime investment. Familiarize yourself with the principles of personal finance and managing money. Self-investment paves the way to a more financially secure future.

How to Manage Money: Putting Tips into Practice

Let’s journey into hypothetical scenarios where small changes in your money management habits yield substantial savings over time. So, you’re a college student deciding to implement these 10 financial tips. Here’s how your financial journey might unfold:

  • Crafting your budget blueprint. Creating a budget helps you allocate your $1,000 monthly income wisely. By tracking your expenses and cutting unnecessary spending, you could save around $200 each month.
  • Monitoring your spending. With apps making expense tracking effortless, you can identify areas where you overspend. This alone might save you an additional $50 monthly.
  • Simple money management tips: Distinguishing needs from wants. Prioritizing essentials over impulses saves you an extra $50 by avoiding unnecessary purchases.
  • Steering clear of high-interest debt. By skipping high-interest debt, you prevent paying an additional $30 in monthly interest charges.
  • Building an emergency fund. Allocating 10% of your income to an emergency fund lets you accumulate $100 each month for unexpected situations.
  • Cooking and eating in. Mastering cooking at home saves you $80 monthly instead of regularly dining out.
  • Opting for secondhand and discounts. How to manage money in college? By buying used textbooks and clothes and utilizing student discounts, you save around $40 monthly.
  • Unlocking student discounts. Regularly utilizing student discounts saves you an extra $20 each month on various products and services.
  • Exploring part-time jobs or freelancing. Earning $150 from a part-time job or freelancing gig supplements your income.
  • Investing in your financial education. The knowledge you gain about personal finance and investing opens doors to more thoughtful financial choices, potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands over time.

The hypothetical outcome: If we sum up your monthly savings from each tip, you’ve saved an impressive $7,200 over a year. That’s a significant amount that could cover textbooks, help pay off student loans, or even fund a memorable vacation.

This theoretical scenario demonstrates the power of small, consistent changes. While your exact savings might differ, the underlying principle remains the same: adopting these money management tips will gradually lead to a healthier financial future. Start implementing these tips, and watch your savings grow over time!

Final Thoughts

Money management isn’t just about crunching numbers. That is about developing a mindset that allows you to make informed decisions. If you put the advice from “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and our financial tips for college students into practice, imagine the impact they can have over time. The money you save can pay for your education, fund your dream project, and give you much-needed peace of mind. The key is consistency and a willingness to make incremental changes. Each tip is a step toward greater financial independence, from budgeting to distinguishing between needs and wants. 

College is a unique opportunity to develop good financial habits that will serve you throughout your life. Be serious about money management. By taking a forward-thinking approach, you can ensure your financial journey is successful. So go ahead — become a ”rich student” armed with the wisdom of a ”rich father.” Your bright financial future begins with the decisions you make today.

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Alice Dartnell
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Alice is a life and success coach who empowers people to create a “life by design.” She specializes in bringing together time management, well-being, and productivity in crafting the life you want. She also works with organizations to maximize the output and mental wellness of the staff.