It’s extremely hard to manage money well, and it’s especially hard when you’re a student with so little earning capacity and so many huge expenses associated with further education. Let me give you some key biblical words to guide you. Then tomorrow I’ll share with you the two biggest game-changers in my own money-management.

1. Study (Prov. 24:3,4)

If someone gave you $2 million today, you would probably buy a book on money management. Given that the average American family will earn $2 million in the course of a working life, why haven’t you bought the book yet? No one is born a George Soros or a Warren Buffet. Just as we need to study our math, biology, etc., we also need to study how to manage money wisely. I’d recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover or his Complete Guide to Money.

2. Budget (Prov. 24:3,4; Luke 14:28)

If you aim at nothing you’ll always hit it. The 3% of people who write out financial goals achieve more financially than the other 97% combined. Budgeting means working out exactly how much income you have each month from various sources, then estimating exactly how much money you will spend on various categories (tithe, saving, housing, gas, food, etc.) and ensuring that the income is greater than the expenses.

3. Save (Prov. 21:10; 22:3; Matt. 25: 14-30)

You should have a short-term savings fund for emergencies like car repairs (maybe about $500). If you can afford it, you should also consider a medium-term savings fund for things like replacing your car or computer. Next priority, if there’s anything left, is to build up a deposit on a house. And then, as early as possible you should start putting a little away for retirement. I know that sounds ridiculous but have a look at this graphic if you need further persuasion.

4. Give (Prov. 3:9,10; Luke 6:38; 1 Cor. 16:2)

What? I’m a student, people give to me! No, you should tithe any earned income no matter how small it may be and give to support your local church first and foremost. The earlier you start, the easier this will be later in life. Believe it or not, tithing does not get any easier the more you earn.

5. Insure (Prov. 22:3)

“Foresee the evil and hide (“cover”) yourself.” The number one cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical bills  (#2 is credit cards).

6. Wait (Heb. 13:5; 2 Cor. 6:10; 1 Tim. 6:6)

Be content with what God has given you and learn to patiently wait until you can buy with cash

  • 19% of bankruptcies are filed by college students (usually caused by credit card debt)
  • People spend 47% more when using credit cards than when using cash
  • 88% of “Ninety days interest-free credit offers” are turned into high interest loans
  • Avoid get-rich-quick schemes (Prov. 13:11)

7. Repay (Prov. 6:5; 22:7)

I agree with Dave Ramsey that, apart from your home, you should avoid loans as much as possible and if you must take one, then aim to repay it as fast as possible.

8. Work (Eccl. 9:10; 1 Tim. 5:8)

Don’t depend entirely on your parents or college to fund your lifestyle or your studies. Even if your parents support you to some extent, or you win a college scholarship, it’s unlikely this will cover all your costs. Far better to work now to cover the balance than to take a loan which you will end up working to repay eventually.

If you say, “But I need a loan to attend this college,” you should consider whether your lack of cash in hand may be part of God’s guidance of you away from that college or course to one you can afford. If you can’t work through semester time, then your aim should be to work through summer and winter vacations. Apart from the extra cash, you will also learn good discipline and work habits.

Previous Tips

New Student Tip #1: Dropbox
New Student Tip #2: Wunderlist
New Student Tip #3: Evernote
New Student Tip #4: Diigo
New Student Tip #5: Lastpass
New Student Tip #6: Calendar
New Student Tip #7: Feedly
New Student Tip #8: Covenant Eyes
New Student Tip #9: The Why of Note-taking
New Student Tip #10: The How Of Note-taking
New Student Tip #11: Time Management
New Student Tip #12: Memorizing


Thriving at College by Alex Chediak (for students)
Preparing Your Teens For College by Alex Chediak (for parents of students)
Top 10 Books for Students

  • Matthew

    Are you skipping #13 and doing two #12s instead? Seems a bit superstitious for you Mr. Murray. I’m kidding, of course, but you do have double #12s on your list!

    • David Murray

      Thanks for catching that Matthew. Brought back many awful memories of my math classes.

  • Pingback: Blogging Advice - :

  • Pingback: Prayer: There's an App for That | Faith Baptist Church of Winter Haven, FL

  • Josh Lamb

    A budgeting software I found that is invaluable is YNAB (You need a budget). It is even free for students.