Students often struggle with their finances. Regardless of what college and major they are studying in, the money they have at their disposal often feels like too little. Finding a part-time job sounds good on paper, but how can students balance their studies and work part-time outside of that?
There are certain tricks and ways to start saving money to actually have some savings on the side, however. While it does depend on the primary source of income for the student, it’s still a good way to start putting some money on the side.
Use a savings account
Saving money by yourself is a noble idea, but you should look for some help as well. Many banks offer student accounts and savings are a number one priority for them. They offer significant stimuli for students who decide to open savings accounts in their banks, allowing them to earn even more than the sum they put it. Best of all, their taxes are minimal or nonexistent, meaning that you will save more than what you invested in the account.
Depending on your college and professors, it might be a good idea to use second-hand books as opposed to buying brand new ones. While this doesn’t apply to practice books, you can certainly get a much better deal by buying books from older college students than you would be buying new ones.
Seniors are likely to forget about their books once they finish those exams – why not use the opportunity and save some money by buying them off of them? You can also get a couple of tips and notes scribbled throughout the books you buy, making your studying process much easier.
Preparing food by yourself
Cooking independently is a scary thought for many students. The fact that you have a limited number of resources that you have to cook and pay attention not to under or overcook them can be stressful. While it may take some time to get right, learning how to cook is one of the best ways to save a lot of money.
Eating outside may be tasty and fun to do with friends, but it will also but a huge hole in your wallet. Try cooking by yourself (or with college friends) instead – buying groceries and ingredients shouldn’t be too hard once you find the recipes you want to try out online. Make sure that you always have a backup plan should the food be burnt or distasteful – your health is far more important than your wallet.
Limit your credit card use
Given the fact that you are away from home and need some sort of income stream from your parents, you will have a credit card by your side. A good way to save money is to limit the use of said credit card to groceries and school materials.
Don’t indulge in going out every weekend and spending your credit card money just to keep up with your college friends. Not everyone has the same possibilities in college due to their parents' funding. While it’s nice to treat yourself every once in a while, you should make sure that your credit card is always ready and has money available should anything unexpected happen.
Think before buying
Being impulsive is a trait that many college students share. Buying things you don’t really need but would like to own is often the biggest reason for going broke and asking for more money from your parents. But what happens when your parents tell you that they have nothing to send you? Always think twice before buying anything as a college student. Those few years that you will spend in college should be focused on your studies and to becoming a better and more mature person. There will be plenty of opportunities to indulge in your hobbies and buy music, games, and makeup once you have graduated.
A good way to earn a little extra money on the side is by freelancing. You can easily set up a profile online and work at your own pace, even in the middle of the night. Getting into a freelancing job such as writing, graphic design or data mining might take a couple of days (or weeks), but the results will be worth it.
There is no better way to start saving than by working to get even more money into your savings and even buy something for yourself every once in a while. You can check out translation companies which provide online work if you want to see how a professional translator operates online. Freelancing opportunities are numerous and anyone can pitch in by finding what works for them.
There are numerous ways in which you can entertain yourself for free. The internet is an oyster of possibilities, and anything you want to do can be done for free, albeit in a more restricted form.
You can find free games online by using a platform such as Steam. Music and related videos can be found on YouTube without any trouble. Movies and TV shows can also be found by searching online and looking at free options at your disposal. You can even play party games with your college friends on your computer at no charge whatsoever. For college students, every day is a financial struggle, and finding free entertainment online is a great way to alleviate much of that trouble and stress.
While it may not be the most glamorous option at hand, splitting rent and living with roommates is an option you should consider. Saving money in college is difficult, especially with all the daily costs that come with being a student.
Why not live with another student (or two) in an apartment and split rent and bills among yourselves? You can get off much cheaper each month and even have some money leftover. Most importantly, you will always have someone in the apartment and willing to jump to your help if you need it. You can even cook together and spend time together just as you would with regular college friends.
Focus on college
The best way to avoid any unnecessary expenses and start saving money is by focusing on college. This has a two-way benefit: you will spend less money by staying inside and studying, which in turn might result in a scholarship or a paid tuition down the line.
While it may be difficult to shut off all the wonders of spending money and buying things of questionable necessity, focusing on your studies might be the best solution to them all. You have become a college student to achieve your dreams of becoming independent one day. Why not do exactly that and let your savings account speak for itself once the semester is over?
The beginnings of your savings are going to be hard and stressful. You will often wonder if it’s even worth it because you will spend your money anyway. Remember that you will graduate from college one day and start your real life. The savings you make now could mean a potential future down the line.
Don’t be tempted by impulses and rash decisions and ask someone to help you with your savings and keep you in check. This is one of the most mature steps that you can take as a college student and one of the hardest ones as well.