Macatawa and Wintrust Announcement

Tips for college students

Learning to save money. 

Learning to save money is an important life skill that is useful at every stage of life.

Whether you're a Freshman or a seasoned student, you're probably well aware that money trees don't grow on campus. By applying 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. 

  1. What I want
  2. When I want it
  3. 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 identity theft protection. Consider putting 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.


We can help!

If you have budgeting questions feel free to reach out to us by calling us at (877) 820-2265, fill out the form at the bottom of the page, or stop by one of our branch locations.

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Other Ways to Save

New is out

Consider renting used books or ordering used textbooks online. Buying books can be expensive and often used books are in as good of shape as new ones. Small kitchen appliances, clothing and even furniture are all available at local resale shops at prices well under retail. Garage sales or social media marketplaces are excellent ways to find secondhand bargains.

Entertain on a budget

Limit your hanging out fund. There are lots of fun activities to keep you busy in college and most are free to students. Use your meal plan or sample new recipes instead of eating out.

Stay on campus

Gassing up the car to drive off campus can add up to a hefty price at the pump. College campuses are designed to accommodate the lifestyles of those who live there. If you can find a way to meet a need on campus, why bother leaving?

Say no to fast food

Sure it’s convenient, but if you add up how much you spend on fast food every week, you’ll find that could be stretched much further at the grocery store.

Use your student status

Many stores and restaurants offer student discounts. Look for places that offer savings when you show your student ID. The savings can really add up.

Brew your coffee

Those $5 coffee orders add up fast. Find a coffee you love and brew it at home.


Stuff happens, and it’s important that you are financially ready when your car or computer breaks, or when you have to buy that unexpected bus ticket home. No matter how small the amount, you should start putting some money away ASAP.


This is a learning experience, so if you need help don't be afraid to ask. Your parents or your banker are great places to start.

We're happy to help.

Looking for answers? Need some sound advice? Want to talk over your financial options? Fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.
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