Everyone has big plans for the future. It’s so fun to plan big trips with your friends, and in your head, it seems really easy. “We HAVE to go to the Bahamas for Spring Break!” “We should totally go to the Miley Cyrus concert this summer.” “What do you think of going to Italy the summer after graduation?” We all do it, but then reality hits. Traveling and many other major life experiences are so expensive. Here are some ways to save money here and there to make paying for your trips a little less painful. It all adds up in the end!
Keep a stash in your room
As long as you know your own secret spot, hiding money from yourself is actually super effective. Every time you get a paycheck, a friend pays you back or your grandma sends you an Easter card, set aside half of that money in a place that isn’t in your reach or line of sight. You’ll be surprised how much you can save by tricking yourself into saving.
Have a coin jar
Every time you empty your pockets, add your coins to the jar and watch the collection grow. People don’t realize how quickly coins add up. A full jar could potentially pay for that concert ticket or cheap hotel room. You can decorate the jar for fun, too!
Need vs. Want
This is so important! When you’re shopping and your hands are full of expensive clothes and accessories, take a minute to picture your closet in your room. Do you already have a gray cardigan? Are your three pairs of boots enough? How many pairs of leggings do you REALLY need? This doesn’t only go for clothes. Avoid going out to eat, reuse school supplies and make DIY gifts during holidays. Be smart and be grateful for what you already have!
Ask for cash during the holidays
Whether it’s Christmas or your birthday, you’re bound to get gifts from a family member or two. If they ask you what you want (or even if they don’t), let them know that cash or Visa gift cards are the most practical for a poor college student!
Add work hours (if possible)
If you have time to, increase your student employment hours, find a job in Northfield or look on St. Olaf Extra for temporary odd jobs. If this means sacrificing homework and sleep time, maybe you shouldn’t do it, but a few extra hours here and there can really make the difference!
I’m sure you’ve heard all of these ideas before. They’re practical and within everybody’s means. Whether you believe it or not, starting small is the way to go, and your money will add up eventually! In the meantime, don’t plan extravagant trips if you truly cannot afford them, and prioritize what purchases (short and long-term) are most important to you. Happy saving/spending!