How to Get the Most Out of Your Money

If you’re a college student, chances are, you’re broke. Whether or not you’re working, it can feel like any money you have disappears as soon as you get it. If you want to get the most out of the money you encounter so you can have some peace of mind, try to follow these tips.

Save a little from every paycheck

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When I was 16, I put 50% of every paycheck I made from my job at the grocery store into my savings account. Within a few months, I was able to buy my first car! Even just putting $20 away from every paycheck will quickly add up. Soon you’ll have enough money to get ahead on your bills or save for your next vacation. (Saving up some money from mom and dad helps too.)

Shop in store, not online

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Shopping online is so fast and convenient that it’s easy to forget what you’re purchasing. Even if you’re shopping for something important, it’s better to look and feel the quality in person to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your money. So, take a Saturday afternoon and have a fun trip to the mall with friends to find what you’re looking for!

Create a realistic budget

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Microsoft Excel offers tons of templates for budgeting that are quick and easy, just search “budget” when you open a new sheet. If you would rather download an app that tracks your expenses straight from your bank account, try Mint. Mint will track your budget, bills and let you check your credit score all in one place.

Say no to unnecessary spending

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Do you really need Chipotle or Starbucks for lunch, or will you manage settling for food at Ike’s? It’s simple choices like these that can add up. By choosing to eat at the dining halls or cook at home, you can be spending that extra money on more important things.

Invest

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I’m not talking thousands of dollars, but putting your extra savings into an investment can really help multiply what you have. Apps like Stash help beginners learn the basics of investing, with little risk involved.

Start a retirement account ASAP

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Even if you’re 18 and fresh out of high school, saving for your retirement is crucial for your future. Many companies offer 401(k)s and take a certain percent out of each paycheck for your retirement account. Oftentimes, the employer will even match the amount you’re contributing (free money!! literally!!). When you’re 80 and retired, you’re going to thank your college self for saving that extra $5 per paycheck.

In the end, it pays to save and spend your money wisely. So the next time you want to grab a Starbucks, think about what better ways you could be using that money on.