It is not easy to save while in college especially since there are way too many expenses, and in addition, you would want to have some fun. Money is never enough. So, how can you even save? How can you keep some cash aside? Can it even be done?
It can be done. Savings are extremely important because they ensure that you have a plan in place in case of emergencies. It is crucial to come up with a regular saving plan, where each week you try to set aside some funds from your earnings.
The good news is that most college schedules are usually flexible enough to allow you to earn some money on the side to manage your upkeep. This is the first step if you want to generate a culture of saving. You need to get a job.
Other than that, here are a few other ways you can ensure that you save some money while still studying;
Create an emergency fund：
Always ensure that you have a little safety net before you embark on anything. This fund will easily cater for any surprises or emergencies. You can always start small, such as a saving $10 each day, and then increase gradually month to month, always ensuring to have at least 3-6 months expenses covered.
As a student, always keep your debts at a minimum. You do not need to have ten credit cards. If anything, one is more than enough, and do not max out the card. Whenever you get some extra cash, pay off any outstanding debts so that you can have a clear picture of what is left over for you to save.
The debts that should be settled first are those that have a high-interest rate such as personal student loans, or credit cards. Get rid of these debts early on, as they will continue to drain your income.
Short-term goals refer to what you may want to do in the near future, such as going away for summer or spring break, or even Christmas break. These are holidays that will require a considerable amount of money to be spent, and therefore, you will need to plan for them in advance and start saving early.
The reason why this is important is so that you can avoid any impulse spending while on holiday. If you do not plan well, you will end up maxing out your credit cards, and come back from holiday in a much worse state than you were before.
Find ways of minimizing your spending:
This is the key. While in college, there are definitely expenses that must be sorted out, but that doesn’t mean you do not consider the cost of each. Here are a few tips to ensure that you do not end up spending all of your money paying for stuff;
Books are definitely a must, but you do not have to get brand new textbooks. Those are definitely expensive. It is actually shocking how expensive how books are.
There are so many options when it comes to books for someone looking to spend less and save more.
You could borrow from your fellow students who are a year ahead
You could register with the library and get to borrow any book you want, whenever you want it,
You could look for a bookstore that sells second-hand books because they are cheaper compared to the brand-new ones.
You can even rent books from websites such as Chegg, or Barnes and Noble.
You can buy used textbooks from Amazon.com.
You can order digital textbooks at a lower price from websites such as iFlipd. This one offers a pay-as-you-go model that is affordable.
As a student, you must have a laptop, but again, you do not need to have a brand new one. This will be too expensive, and you are trying to save as much as you can. So, look for alternative ways of acquiring one at a cheaper cost. Here are some options;
Check for discounts – Look for stores that are offering huge discounts on computers. Yes. It happens quite often, especially where there is a university nearby because they understand that students need to have them. The discounts will save you quite a lot of cash.
Buy a refurbished laptop – This is merely a used laptop that has been renovated and redecorated so that it looks almost new. If you buy from a reputable store, this is actually a pretty good computer that will serve you for a long time. It is also incredibly cheap compared to a brand new one. In fact, you can find some great computers from companies such as Apple, Dell, Lenovo, etc., that would otherwise be unaffordable when brand new.
A lot can be said about credit cards. This is an area where every student should be wary, and if you are not well informed, you will end up in debt, which will forever mess up your life.
It is extremely easy to get a credit card when you are a student, but, paying it off is not always easy. If you decide to get a card, choose one that has a low-interest rate, and ensure to keep your spending to a minimum. What you should avoid is maxing out your card, because it shows that you are living beyond your means.
Here’s how to manage your credit cards;
Always keep your utilization to a minimum –If you have more than one credit card, you should always ensure that you keep the utilization rate to less than 30%.
This is what it means; if your card has a limit of $1,000 and you spend $600, then your utilization rate is at 60%. In order to stay below 30%, you must never spend more than $300 dollars on the card. As a result, you will end up paying very little on the card.
Use a booster card instead:
This is yet another option when it comes to credit cards. It is what you would call a pre-paid credit card. What you do is deposit money in the bank, or with a credit card company, and then, they give you a card from the account which you deposited the funds.
As a result, you will only be spending money that you already have, and not what you do not have, as is the case with a credit card.
A booster card ensures that you do not have any debts. It is an excellent idea for someone who tends to spend too much.
College food is pretty cheap, and you can actually survive very well on it, but some students opt to eat out rather than feeding on what is already provided.
This is a mistake if you make eating out a habit. Of course, it is more expensive to eat at a restaurant, and therefore, you should limit this as much as possible. If you have to eat out, let it be rare, probably during a celebration of some kind.
Buy into the school meal plan and use it. It will save you a lot of money.
You should also ensure that your mini fridge is stocked with food and snacks that you buy from the grocery store, rather than rushing to use the vending machine whenever you are in need of a snack. This is going to be too expensive.
Off-campus housing can be costly. If you have to live off the school, then choose wisely, and look for a housing solution that is not too expensive.
If you can, register to school early at the start of every semester so you can ensure to get in-school housing which is extremely cheap and saves you a whole lot. You may have to share a room and other amenities such as bathrooms, but it is worth it.
Being a young adult is filled with many distractions, such as parties, spring break vacations, drinking, etc. This can cause you not to concentrate on your studies, and as a result, you may end up not completing the course in due time.
Remember that every additional year that you do not graduate only adds more expenses. Please graduate on time, and find a job immediately.
It is understandable for you to be unable to save any money while still in college. College life is not easy, and there are definitely way too many distractions that cost money. You really don’t have to go out every night, you don’t have to buy a new outfit for every party, and do not be influenced by peer pressure.
The most important thing is to remain focussed because in most cases people who misuse their time in college end up regretting it later on in life.
Look for a job, get affordable housing and balance your studies well so you can leave the school with a college degree, and some good money as well,which will help you in getting your first apartment even before you get a good job.