5 Easy Ways for Students to Save | 03.04.13
Developing good saving habits starts when you’re young, but many students don’t know where to begin. While we know it can be tough to save money when college expenses keep growing, every little bit helps.
1. Automate your Saving
If you receive a regular paycheck from a part-time or on-campus job, see if you can allocate a portion to automatically deposit in a savings account. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but by putting a little bit away into a separate account, you’re more likely not to spend it and can even earn interest on the savings.
2. Use your Tax Refund Wisely
Did you just get your tax refund or are you patiently awaiting its arrival? It might be tempting to spend all of the “extra” money right away, but don’t! Put it directly into your savings account to build interest for when you really need it. That doesn’t mean don’t treat yourself to something nice, just keep it reasonable.
3. Go Plastic-Free
It’s easy to overspend when that little plastic card in your wallet is always there for you. But by switching to a cash-only system, you’re sure to spend only what’s budgeted for the month.
4. Find Incentives
If you’re anything like me, you like to see the benefit of your efforts in a tangible way. I’m a visual person, so there’s a huge difference between knowing what I’m saving, and seeing the results. That’s why I like to use money management tools like Mint.com. I can see my spending habits in charts and colors, and seeing those little bars increase month after month is why I keep at it.
Charts not your thing? That’s okay. Find some other incentive that works for you, even if it’s as simple as rewarding yourself with something small for hitting savings goals.
5. Reduce Everyday Expenses
I know, I know, this piece of advice is easier said than done. But if you spend $2.00 on a coffee everyday, that’s more than $700 a year. Those little expenses add up quick. To help you cut back on spending, here are some quick tips:
- Buy by the unit price, not actual price
- BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup) – Many coffee shops give you a discount for bringing your own travel mug. Get more coffee, cheaper!
- Make a list and stick to it – There’s a reason stores put the small items like lip balm and magazines near the registers. Control your impulse-purchases by making a list and sticking to it!
- Drink more water – If you’re out to dinner, replace that Diet Coke with a water. It’s cheaper AND healthier!
Looking for some outside-the-box ways to save money? Check out DoSomething.org’s The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money campaign. Submit an entry and there may be a $4,000 scholarship in it for you!
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