For many students, college marks their first time being in charge of their own finances. People save for many reasons, and whether you’re saving for emergencies and rent or travel and student loans, here are five tips to help you get started on a comfortable savings account while you’re still in college.
Buy What You Need
It may sound self-explanatory, but unnecessary spending is one of the biggest roadblocks to saving money. Be wary of impulse purchases, especially when the money can be better spent elsewhere. And no matter what, always try to spend less than you earn.
Search for Discounts
Many places in Phoenix offer student discounts that can help make a dent in your spending. Bring your ID card to museums, theaters and restaurants and if you’re uncertain about whether a discount is available, there’s no harm in asking.
When buying groceries, track your anticipated spending and have a plan in mind before going to the store instead of buying whatever looks good. Hundreds of meal plans are available online, and many are specifically designed with a budget in mind. When you get to the grocery store, compare your first pick with an off-brand version and those on the top and bottom of the aisle. Oftentimes, the most expensive items will be placed at eye level on the middle shelf. Generic items usually have the same ingredients as the name brand, but are sold at a reduced price.
Try Some DIY To limit money spent on eating out, try your hand at cooking some of the same dishes at home. When buying a restaurant meal, you are not only paying for the cost of the food, but the restaurant’s labor costs and overheads. If you make it yourself, however, you only pay the food cost. This also applies to beverages. Making your own coffee or tea at home can be a big long term money-saver for college students that need their caffeine fix. A few dollars for a latte doesn’t sound like much at the time of purchase, but it can add up quickly over the course of the semester.
Having a specific goal in mind can also make saving easier. That way, every inessential purchase can be seen as a small setback to your next trip or a dip into your fund for a new car. Take a look at your income and set a monthly savings goal, then stick to it as much as possible. Your future self will thank you when you’re finally able to cross something big off of your bucket list or put a down payment on a house.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.