Learning to save money is an important life skill that will be useful at every stage of life.
Whether you're a Freshman or a seasoned student, you are probably well aware that money trees don't grow on campus. By applying simple money saving tips to everyday life, you’ll find that you have extra cash on hand when you need it and extra funds in the bank for emergencies.
Long term goals
What are the things you want? We suggest creating a simple list that is broken into three parts.
- What I want
- When I want it
- How much it costs
You're in charge.
One of the first steps to adulting: Take responsibility for your own finances. There is no better time than the present to start acting the part by creating a realistic budget or plan and sticking to it.
First, you will need to figure out your total monthly income. This should include your take-home pay (income after taxes), any allowance, gifts, odd jobs or other income.
Know your cash flow
You control your money, you determine how you spend or save it. If you pace your spending and increase saving by cutting unnecessary things like eating out or shopping, your money is going to last longer.
An important step in budgeting is figuring out how much you spend and on what. We suggest keeping track of your spending for a month. At the end of the month, tally up how much you spent and where it all went (entertainment, clothes, food, gifts, charity, etc.).
Once you have tracked both your income and your expenses for a month, subtract your total monthly expenses from your total monthly income. How much is left over? If you saved all of the leftover money every month, how long would it take you to save for your long-term goals?
Utilize your bank account.
Banks are more than just a vault to store your money in. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from like check cashing, debit cards, online and mobile banking, balance alerts, direct deposit, financial education and some offer identity theft protection. Consider putting that extra cash into your savings account, or if you have direct deposit, ask your employer to put a portion of your paycheck in your savings account automatically.