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Save More Money as a Student

 

 

My years as a broke college student are coming to a close, and soon I will be just a regular, broke adult. I’ve always been particularly frugal and clever with money, but I have learned even more than I thought I could while being in college. I’ve made my fair share of money mistakes, and I’ve watched my friends make mistakes too. After three years of being a college student, I’ve culminated my top tips for saving money as a student:

Save money from every paycheck:

My number one tip for saving money is to actually save your money. The truth is, it takes a lot of willpower and determination to go out of your way to save a portion of money from your paycheck, especially when your paychecks are so small. I highly recommend having two bank accounts if you do not already: a checking account and a savings account. Every time you get a paycheck, transfer a portion to your savings. You can do this by allocating a percentage every paycheck, like 15% of all your paychecks go to savings, or you can allocate a dollar amount like $20 of every paycheck will go to savings. A bonus tip is to ask your employer if direct deposit is an option. This way, you usually get your paychecks earlier in the week, and there is often an option to automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck to savings. This is a foolproof way to ensure you are saving money, even if it’s the tiniest amount. During the summers when I am working more, I change my direct deposit, so a larger percentage of my paycheck is being deposited directly to my savings (50%), then during the school year when I’m working less, I lower the percentage to 10% to make sure I have enough money for food, bills, etc in my checking account. Either way, I am always saving money. The amount really does not matter, but training yourself to save money will make all the difference down the road. It’s such a good money habit to have, and you will never regret saving your money instead of spending it.

 

Understand what value means:

Understand the value of a dollar. The best way to learn this is to get a job and start paying for things yourself. When you go to buy an item, really, truly think about the price and what you’re getting from the purchase. If a muffin costs $2.95, but you can get a breakfast sandwich for $3.50, you should probably get the breakfast sandwich because it’s more valuable (will you keep full, longer), and it’s only 55 cents more than a muffin. Understanding quality is important too. For example, if you always buy inexpensive jeans, but they always rip or don’t hold well in the wash, maybe you should just invest in a more expensive pair that will last longer instead of having to buy a new pair of cheap jeans every few months.

Ask for a raise:

Ask your boss for a raise, but be realistic. Are you a good employee? If you constantly show up late, call off, or have to be told what to do, then you probably don’t deserve one, but if you’re doing what you’re supposed to, and you’re a decent employee, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst that can happen is your boss says no. You might be surprised at how easy it is.

Bigwords.com

My favorite place to find textbooks is BigWords.com. It’s a database that searches all over the internet for your textbook and finds the cheapest place to rent or buy the book. Highly recommend.

Start paying loans

If you took out student loans, check out the repayment options. Many loan providers offer students the option to make a payment on their loan every month. In the end, this small monthly payment can greatly reduce the amount of interest the loan accrues, so when you graduate, the bill isn’t as steep as you planned.

Bar Specials

This might seem silly, but try to only drink what’s on special at the bar you’re at. If bud light pitchers are $4, then drink the bud light. Don’t order a $12 vodka soda (that’s probably watered down anyway) if you can get something else to drink for a third of the price. This will save you lots of money in the long run.

Some of these tips are small and some are large, but literally every penny makes a difference when you’re a student. Someone once said, “live like a broke college student now, so you don’t have to later.”

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