Money problems? It happens to the best of us. What with paying for fees, books, and the occasional outing with your AMP family, expenses really begin adding up. I remember when I got my first bank account (attached with a debit card) I spent about $20 weekly on Diddy Reise cookies. My spending habits quickly got me into trouble because I had no steady income. Soon, my spending became a huge problem.
But I knew that cutting spending was not the only solution. I knew I had to start earning money, and fast.
I did everything I could to keep my cash flow positive. Here are six ways you can get or save money:
1. Food is the biggest expense for any college student. Foods like bananas, beans, and chicken are cheap, healthy, and satisfying. Invest in a small thermos and make your own teas and coffee. Learn to cook, or have a nice auntie pack you a tiffin. Sometimes, it’s nice to eat out and take a break from everything. However, enjoy yourself Islamically by using moderation! Try nice, healthy potlucks instead of going to Habibi Cafe for late night Subhan’Allah’s and Yarhamuk’Allah’s.
2. To apply for financial aid, you should fill out a FAFSA before the deadline! The deadline usually falls before March 2nd of the year preceding the academic school year. If you haven’t filled out a FAFSA by now, go ahead and do it anyway! Though your chances of funds may be reduced, you can still (and probably will) qualify for a substantial amount of money.
3. Apply for SCHOLARSHIPS! If you go to the scholarship center in Covel 223, they will match you up with scholarships based on your background, major, and other random categories.
Tip: In scholarship essays, talk about what makes YOU different from everyone else. Immigrant experiences? Been there done that. Tell a story! Make yourself look cool. Don’t brag, but be confident. Essays about how an experience has changed you are usually great!
I’ve won all three of the scholarships I applied for Alhamdullillah! The key is to write one REALLY good essay and keep modifying it to fit numerous prompts. Ask your favorite professors to write you letters of recommendation after going to a couple of office hours and finding out what their favorite cookies are. Bribe them, praise them, and pay attention to what they say and they’ll fall head over heels for you!
4. Jobs. Usually, you can only get work study if it is offered to you in your financial aid offer. (This is why it is so important to fill out a FAFSA by the deadline.) Look for jobs under “BruinView – Job Search” in the left side of your MyUCLA homepage. You can filter your job search by requirements, major, distance, and internships.
Tip: Don’t waste time doing nothing so that you can get more hours. If you work quickly and efficiently, bosses WILL notice. I’ve been raised a dollar a quarter as a reward for efficient work. And your boss could write you an amazing letter of recommendation for scholarships!
5. Still pressed for cash? Look for research opportunities! You can give blood for AIDS research, have your brain scanned for neurology projects, and be part of many studies. Requests for students are posted all along the south wall of Boelter. These studies can pay as much as $200 for a 2 hour session! Plus, you’ll be doing a great service to UCLA.
6. Intention matters. When you save money, make the intention that you’re saving to educate yourself. When you earn money, make the intention that you’re going to work hard so that you can learn discipline and stay on the straight path. And if you find yourself stressing too much about financial issues, ask help from the One who helps everyone.