Maybe being better with your financial planning wasn’t at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions, but who doesn’t love having extra zeros at the end of their account balance? Getting a college education is already a huge drain on most students’ finances, so why add to the stress by spending more than you have? Start 2019– and your adulthood– off on the right foot by trying out some of these tips to spend less cash and manage your money more responsibly this year.
Keep Track Of Your Spending
Maybe you’re working two part-time jobs or have a hefty balance in your savings account from working all of last summer. This doesn’t mean you need to spend it on regular online-shopping binges and overpriced drinks at the local bar every weekend. It’s easy to spend money you don’t have when you can easily swipe a plastic card every time you don’t feel like eating at the dining hall, or when you really want that cute jacket you saw in an Instagram ad. Once you make a spreadsheet or download a spending-tracking app like Mint or PocketGuard, you’ll see just how much of your money is vanishing into thin air.
Once you’ve tracked your spending for a few weeks, start making a plan of how much of your earnings you want to put away in your savings each month, how much of your money is going to necessary expenses like groceries and rent, and how much you need for everyday spending.
There are ways to spend less and still enjoy life! Try having more nights in with your friends and make dinner and cocktails together as a group. Or hit your local thrift store and pick up some one-of-a-kind vintage pieces instead of paying full-price for low quality fast-fashion clothing.
Check out the link below to get more tips on starting budgeting:
Take Advantage of Your School’s Resources
It is more than likely that part of your tuition money goes towards your access to the gym, electronics rental services, public transportation, downloadable software, TV services, and countless other resources you’ll have to directly pay for once you graduate. You only have a limited time in college, so get your tuition money’s worth by seeing what you can get for free!
Here are some examples of the free resources Loyola offers to its students:
Student Discounts Are Everywhere
Take advantage of student discounts! Spotify premium is only $4.99 for university students, and this includes a free hulu subscription as well. Amazon Prime membership is is half the price for students (c’mon, we all know they’re going to take over the world eventually)
Check out this list (or google “student discounts”) to see where else you can save money just by being a student:
Rent Your Textbooks
When I was a freshman in college, I was convinced that I would use every textbook that was “required” on the syllabi of many of my professors. I easily spent over $300 during my first year by buying brand spankin’ new textbooks from the school bookstore. Half of the time, I didn’t even need to crack open the textbook to study for my class!
Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I wait until the second week of classes to see if I really need to buy the textbook by asking my professors whether it is absolutely necessary to do so. If I do need the book, I ask around and see if any of my friends has a copy from when they took the class before me. If not, I scour the internet for a free pdf version of the text. Finally, if all else fails, I rent the book from Amazon for a fraction of the full price (hooray for two day shipping!) or find a cheap online version so I don’t have to lug a 200 pound textbook to class every day.
Start Building Your Credit
Maybe your immediate priorities as an undergrad don’t involve taking out loans to buy a house or pay for graduate school. However, if you plan on doing anything that requires good credit one day, you should try getting a credit card and be responsible with it. This means routinely using your credit card for minor purchases and paying off your full balance, on time, every month. The older your credit history, and the more responsible your credit habits, the better chances you have of getting the loans you’ll one day need for your future goals.
Yes, it may seem stressful to think about logging all of your expenses, sticking to a budget, managing multiple credit and debit accounts, but it’s never too early to start adulting! Like anything in life, work your way up to being a savvy saver with small steps like putting away a little bit more of your earnings every month, or foregoing your daily Starbucks runs and making your coffee at home. Trust me, making the right financial moves today will have 2040 you thanking 2019 you!