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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Growing up, I found that school never taught me what I wanted to know about finances. It was something I knew was important, but no one seemed to have the answers. I had to do a lot of research by myself to learn how to be more financially independent and how to make my money work for me. Here are some tips I learned that you should know too:

Open a Cash Reserve Savings Account

Having a cash reserve is the best and safest option you could make with your money. Instead of having your money stay stagnant in a regular account, consider switching it to a cash reserve account that accrues money with inflation. 

Plus, slowly putting money into your savings guarantees that if there’s ever an emergency, you will have money to take care of whatever you need.

Invest in Stocks

Investing in stocks is probably the smartest thing I could’ve done with my money. It’s a constant waiting game and rollercoaster, but I’ve managed to turn a few hundred dollars into a lot more money. Investing requires a good amount of money to begin with. Once you’ve got the money to invest in companies, you need to keep track of the stock market and not be worried if your account fluctuates here and there.

Cashback or Miles

There is no point in having a credit card if you are only spending money and not getting anything in return. I have managed to earn a lot of money by having a credit card with cashback. Every month, my credit card company gives me a list of shops I can get cashback from and I choose to only shop there. 

My sister, on the other hand, has a credit card that gives her miles to use on flights anytime she shops at certain stores or buys plane tickets.

These are two simple ways to get more benefits when you spend money. Another important tip is to check out banks that offer student credit cards, because they usually offer the best interest rates.

Learn to Budget

This might seem like a simple thing to do, but college students can have a difficult time sticking to budgets because we are often living on a very low budget. I would recommend downloading a budgeting app like Mint where you can estimate how much money you will be spending on things like Starbucks, groceries, rent, etc. These apps make it easier for you to decide where you should spend more or less money. 

Review Everything

One of the ways I saved a lot of money at college was by making sure I was only taking out the bare minimum of loans required to get me through every year. I also never took out unsubsidized loans because I didn’t want to pay more money than I signed up for. 

Because I didn’t take out all the loans UCLA offered to me, I was able to pay them all off before my junior year and still have plenty of money in my savings account.

It’s never too early to start thinking about how you can have better finances. Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend money on an accountant!

Allison is a feature writer at UCLA who loves hanging out at the beach and eating any kind of dessert.
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