Whether this is your first semester at college, or you are entering your final year, it’s essential that you have time management strategies in place before the semester begins.
Having strong time management skills not only ensures that your college experience is (mostly) stress-free – it also helps you earn and maintain good grades, and remain financially responsible for your future self.
Top Tips: Successful Time Management for College Students
It may seem as though time management in college wouldn’t really help you with your finances, but that isn’t the case. In fact, time management can have everything to do with your finances!
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1. Manage your time for good grades.
Of course getting good grades is nice. It’s always a good feeling when your hard work is paid off. But did you know that there are many financial benefits to receiving good grades as well?
Scholarships and grants are available for students with strong academic backgrounds. Higher grades lead to offers for Honors Society memberships, which often come with perks such as society-only scholarship competitions.
Car insurance companies occasionally take good grades into consideration, and offer a discount for students who maintain high GPAs. Contact your insurance company for more information, and to see if they have offer a good student discount.
Pass a class once, and never take it again! If your time management skills don’t allow you the proper time to study, you may be facing a very hefty fee: the price to retake a class you should have passed the first time around.
2. How to manage your time for good grades:
Time management for good grades includes staying on top of deadlines. Nearly all professors list due dates for projects, tests and papers on their syllabi. Get a monthly planner that allows you ample room for writing down assignments and details.
I use the Blue Sky Enterprise Weekly/Monthly Planner 8.5×11 for everything; the monthly overview is where I put general details about things I should remember, but it’s the huge daily boxes available in the weekly view that I really love, because I have enough space to color coordinate every appointment and due date possible!
3. You are what you eat.
You can absolutely nibble away at your finances in college, often ending up spending much more than you anticipated on take out. It’s really hard to cook in a dorm, I know, but there are ways around the difficulties with the money saving ideas below!
Planning your meals leads to less hunger-lead eating decisions. If you know what’s for dinner before you leave for classes each day you’ll be less tempted to swing by the local drive-thru or hit up happy hour.
Alcohol can seriously hurt your budget, even with happy hour specials! By splitting the cost of a bottle of wine with a friend and staying in, you’re ensuring you’ll save money, but you’re also staying safe by avoiding driving. Just make sure everyone involved is of legal age to drink, and that alcohol is permitted where you are drinking!
How to manage your eating habits:
In your new, large daily planner, write down what you plan to eat every day. You can get around dorm room limitations by purchasing a small crockpot, or, if your dormitory offers students a communal stove, you may be able to prepare bulk meals for the week. Just make sure you keep your storage options in mind.
Grocery shop once per week, not on an empty stomach, to keep spending at bay. Try to choose recipes that use the same ingredients to keep things simple, and look for easy meals like sandwiches, that require little refrigeration space, and can be made in a hurry. You can find cheap and simple recipes on sites like BadFoodie.com.
A cold caprese pasta salad might be a fantastic way to go for both your budget and your new planning-ahead lifestyle. With just a box of pasta, some cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and a good balsamic vinaigrette you can make a budget-friendly meal that will last you a few dinners or lunches, and requires no reheating!
4. Friends can mess up your time management skills and your budget.
College is definitely a time to socialize and meet new people, but this sometimes comes with a price.
Social time with friends is often done at a bar, coffee shop or restaurant. These activities can quickly chip away at your savings account.
As anti-social as this will make me sound, friends take away from crucial study time, too! Your time management skills need to be fine-tuned so that you can juggle friendships and maintaining strong academic standing.
How to manage time with friends:
Consult your planner before agreeing to impulse activities with friends. Do you have an exam in two days that you haven’t studied for? Is an essay due tomorrow? Be sure that you adhere to your planner, because it will show you clearly where your priorities are (or should be!).
Make specific and intentional plans for meeting friends out for food. If you plan ahead for these events, it is easier to turn down additional invitations when they come in.
You can also be the one doing the inviting, and create some fun, frugal get-together ideas. Take a walk in the park or visit the library; use student activity centers when available, or host a wine tasting party where each invitee brings a glass of wine and appetizer to share (again: make sure everyone is of legal age to drink!).
Finally, make sure your friends know where your priorities are. If you have friends in some of your classes, arrange times to hang out and study together, or review each other’s essays. Staying on top of your assignments each week will ensure that you are able to enjoy many more activities and events with friends, so consult that planner!
Overall, be prepared and organized.
If you know what to expect each week, you can more accurately schedule your time. You may find these time management guidelines for the self-employed useful for some dos and don’ts regarding time management for college students, as well.