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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Dollar: A Guide to Budgeting, Saving, and Growing Your Money

Money: we all wish we had more of it, and yet, when you’re a college student, it’s hard to make it stay in your wallets and sometimes, to accumulate it in the first place. Here are some tips for handling your money, especially when getting a higher-paying job or working more hours isn’t an option because of your million other responsibilities as a student. 

Budget

Have you ever gone out with a friend to enjoy what seemed like a couple of drinks and appetizers, only to be left with a bill that comes to over $100? We’ve probably all been there. While sometimes, you shouldn’t feel bad letting yourself indulge, you’ll feel much better with a budget. That way, when you do indulge, you won’t feel like you’re committing a crime— you’re just following your budget! You know, that thing that’s supposed to help you save money? Create a monthly budget or specify how much it’s okay for you to spend within a semester. Distinguishing between categories of necessary items (like toothpaste) and things that aren’t necessary, but fun (like Sunday brunch) will help keep you on track. 

Track your expenses

Feeling like a bunch of your money just disappeared when you go to pay off your credit card or check your bank account is the worst. But on the bright side, knowledge is power. If you write down everything you spend and what you spend it on, you’ll know where your money is going and where you might be able to cut down on expenses. Make sure to separate your expenses out into different categories, like food/ drink, toiletries, clothes, and entertainment. Your bank might also offer an app that helps you visualize your spending. 

Only buy when you’re rewarded

Because most credit cards offer some percentage of what you spend on a purchase back, consider using a credit card for most of your purchases. Some cards also let you choose a spending category where you get a higher percentage back. I currently have mine set to online shopping, since that’s the main way I buy things these days. Buying a $140 pair of boots will feel a lot better if 3% doesn’t even count. Allegedly. 

Look for the best deal
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If you’re shopping online, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to seeking out the best deals, since you can open your laptop anytime and check back on that pair of jeans you have your eye on. Use online tools that find coupons for you, like Honey, to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. 

Invest
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When your money’s just sitting there in your bank account, it’s losing value every second due to inflation. Before you panic, know that there’s a solution: investing. It sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Open a Fidelity account and get started with something that’s simple and poses minimal risk, like a mutual fund. You don’t have to be rich to own a share, and you can sell when you’re ready. When in doubt, diversify your portfolio to mitigate risk even further. 

With these tips for watching your wallet and getting the most out of every dollar, you’ll be able to splurge once in a while in good conscience, knowing that you’re doing everything you can to protect your hard-earned money.

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Katarzyna Jezak is a senior at Boston University studying English. Her interests include traveling, music, and exploring the great outdoors.
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