Money Saving Tips from a College Senior

As a senior in my final semester, this ain't my first rodeo, and by rodeo, I mean saving money. I get it, trust me, it's hard to have a lot of money when you're a full-time student and paying who-knows-how-much for school. Maybe you're tired of eating Ramen every day, or you're just looking for someone to tell you that you don't have to be *super* poor throughout your time in school. I understand that not every student juggles a job with courses, but that's okay! No matter your scenario, one or some of these tips may still be helpful, but if you can't pull them all off, NBD! They are simply here as suggestions, but they've helped me throughout my time at school, so maybe they will do the same for you. 

  1. 1. Pay with cash as much as you can

    This might be a weird tip to start, but hear me out. One, it provides self control, considering you have to go to the bank to get money to spend. If you don't feel like going to get money before going out, then you don't get to spend money plain and simple. Or, if you spend all the money you pulled out at the ATM, that's it, no more. It's really helpful to have a bit of a gauge on how much money you should/want to spend. Using cash will help that. Finally, it avoids racking up credit card debt, and if you get coins, you can save them, which brings me to my next point. 

  2. 2. Save any and every coin you get in a jar somewhere safe

    Need some quarters for parking? Want to save up for a spring break trip, or a future move for a new job after grad? Use a coin jar! Those babies rack up some serious savings if you leave it alone. I know change is annoying, but if you go home every day and add whatever coins you have to the jar and cash it in when the jar is full, you'll have some money to use towards anything you need. For me, it's to pay off some of my loans when I graduate, but it can be for anything you want or need. 

  3. 3. Shop for groceries on a weekly basis & only buy what you will eat

    I know, grocery stores can be the bane of existence. But, going more often can be a useful saving tool. I noticed that when I bought groceries in bulk, I was throwing so much away because I couldn't eat it fast enough, or I ended up not needing or wanting certain foods I thought I did. So, to avoid this, I not only plan out my meals and any other snacks for the week, but I *only* buy those things. That way, less is wasted, I eat better because I'm planning meals, and it's not Ramen or frozen food, which gets old. TBH, cooking for yourself isn't much more expensive, as long as you eat it all. Going shopping weekly and eating everything you buy makes every penny guilt-free.

  4. 4. Buy generic and take advantage of *buy one, get one* deals

    Maybe it's because I grew up on generic brands, but I always get generic brands of groceries when I shop because it's just so much cheaper and quite frankly, it doesn't taste much different. I know it's not for everyone, but if you're really looking to save some money, going generic is an easy solution. Also, if you're at the store and you eat something often, say, a lot of cereal and it's two for $6, get two. Cereal doesn't expire quick and it will get eaten, so saving a little by actually purchasing more is worth it. 

  5. 5. Try to put at least 5% or 10% of every paycheck into savings

    This one is difficult if you pay for everything on your own like me, but my dad taught me this when I got my first job and it makes a HUGE difference. If you can transfer a little bit of your paychecks into a separate account that you don't touch every time, money will rack up pretty quickly. It takes a little self control and sometimes it's not feasible, but if you can, it helps, trust me. 

  6. 6. Hide your credit cards for at least one week every month

    Sometimes, it's easy to swipe, swipe, swipe and not think about how much money you're wasting because you say "eh, I'll pay it later." This can be super dangerous if you rack up credit card debt too, so locking up your cards in a safe place for a week or two every month will regulate that, and teach you self control if it's a serious issue. I tried this one month to see if it would work and it honestly saved me so much money and helped me say "no" to some unnecessary purchases. Try it, it might make more of a difference than you think. Just don't forget where you put them!

Hopefully one of these tips works for you and you find your pockets a little fuller and your college experience more bearable. It's okay to spend on yourself every so often, as long as you have the means to do it.