Coach Calling: Here's how you can effectively navigate the financial maze of student life

Check if there are any government schemes and if you fit the criteria. There are many when it comes to skill development
Coach Calling | (Pic: EdexLive)
Coach Calling | (Pic: EdexLive)

Being a student or scholar in today's world isn't a joke, especially if you're feeling the pinch of exorbitant fees or not getting the compensation you deserve. Balancing the budget while pursuing your dreams can be a daunting task, but fear not. I plan to share some practical, actionable and personal strategies to help you manage these situations effectively. While protests and collective effort play a vital role in keeping the colleges in check and advocating fair compensation practices, let's explore what you can do on a personal level to enhance your financial situation.

Compensation challenge
I'd like to address this aspect first, as this is something quite delicate and needs to be carefully navigated.

Test the waters...
In most cases, I've seen students and scholars give in to desperation and focus on just "getting in". Later, they realise that the compensation they receive, or the stipend being offered, isn't up to the mark. This is where we need to do our homework, as trying to bring change may be a lengthy and complicated process. Do your research and make a well-informed decision.

Some important points to consider here are:
1. Check if there are any government schemes and if you fit the criteria. There are many when it comes to skill development and they usually extend to education too
2. Check with the institution and check the financial support system they have in place to assist students
3. Check if there are employment opportunities on or near the campus, and even openings for internships nearby. These are generally designed to accommodate the schedule of students and also provide flexibility

If the above aren't in your favour, I'm afraid that you'll have to depend on aspects that are more in your control and focus on strategies you can employ to enhance your financial situation. Let's jump in to explore some of the best!

Brilliant budgeting like a BOSS
The most important step in building a financial foundation is creating a budget. This doesn't mean you need to become a penny-pincher but ensure that you have a clear understanding of your income and expenses and how you can manage them. This is crucial as it gives you a blueprint to begin developing a system that suits you. You need to be disciplined in following this system.

Start by documenting all your income sources, such as your pocket money, stipend, part-time job, internships, scholarships, and the like. For expenses, categorise them into essentials and non-essentials. The former can include hostel rent, utilities, groceries, and mess/food expenses, while non-essentials can include entertainment or expenses for dining out. Remember, creating a budget plan like this not only helps you allocate your resources more efficiently but also minimises your financial stress.

Green(er) commute: Cutting transportation costs
One of the most revolutionary forms of transportation today is electric. Be smart now and enjoy your passion in the future; give in to your passion now and you'll not be able to smartly manage. Why do I say this? Simply because most students make a mess of their financial planning by not considering the fuel expenses, which drastically go up if sports bikes, fancy cars and other forms of fuel guzzlers are preferred to impress others around them. The best thing to do would be to consider greener commuting options like carpooling, or public transport apart from electric vehicles. These alternatives not only save money on fuel and parking (if you don't rely on personal vehicles) but will also reduce your carbon footprint.

Impactful internships
An internship isn't just a step on your career ladder; it's a strategic financial move. Most students don't seek out internships because of the pay scale not meeting their expectations, only to realise later that they committed a blunder. It's a fantastic move to look for internships with organisations that are student-friendly and encourage internships along with studies. 

Pro tip: Whether an internship helps with your immediate financial situation or not, do your best to get one. Just one reason to justify my advice — every organisation wants to hire those who are the "right fit" and the best way to get the right talent is by observing a candidate closely. Do you catch my drift now? Internships are a win-win.

Just for gigs!
The show Just for Gags was fun, right? Well, you can have equal fun exploring the gig economy that's very well-developed in our country. Look for gigs that work in line with your class schedules and have fun while you earn! Remember, part-time work isn't just about funding your late-night cravings for snacks, it's a financial lifeline. Part-time gigs are aplenty, especially if you're okay working for delivery services and other apps like Rapido. 

But I must share a word of caution: Earning is a double-edged sword! If you get carried away looking at the pennies now, you'll get distracted and lose out on the pounds later! Use your earnings wisely — and of course, all work and no play... 

That's a DONE DEAL
You're young, tech-savvy, have amazing exposure to easily accessible knowledge, and of course, technology itself is at your fingertips! Rather than just using it for Insta, FB and Snapchat, use it to sniff out the best deals and student discounts on food, groceries, medicines, software, apps, public transportation, and anything else that you would use every day. The money you save adds up; money saved is money earned!

Thrifty threads
I mentioned actor Zeenat Aman's recent advice to the youth in last week's column. I'd like to reiterate the importance of thrifting, upcycling, and supporting eco-conscious and affordable brands without breaking the bank. Brand value does exist... But focus on the savings and utility. That's what's actually in vogue nowadays!

I'd like to conclude today's conversation by agreeing with the fact that while collective actions and protests are essential in advocating for fair compensation, taking proactive steps on a personal level to improve your financial situation as a student or scholar gives you holistic development. It teaches you responsibility, decision-making, learning to focus on utility rather than novelty, and much more. Remember, you and only you have the power to make informed choices and thrive in your pursuit of knowledge and personal growth.

With Regards,
Your loving coach and not a finfluencer,
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj

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