As the spring semester slowly winds down, you’re probably more than ready for summer. And, really, who could blame you? You’ve worked hard on your studies all year long, and soon you’ll be enjoying some much-needed time off to sit back, relax, and soak up every bit of summer. But before I have you daydreaming a little too much, let’s take a step back for a moment.
You’re in college for a reason, right? You’re there to gain an education in your field of choice that prepares and allows you to build a successful foundation for your life. Before you know it, you’ll be a college grad getting ready to embrace the real world, starting your career, managing your own finances, and saving up for what’s most important to you (and, of course, saving for life’s bigger purchases like a home or car). Something you’ll quickly come to realize is just how important of a role your finances and saving money play in your life—now and in the future.
Money Saving Tips
You’ve probably caught on pretty quickly to the fact that life costs money. Daily expenses can vary from person to person, but all life’s necessities and wants come with a price tag, and some can be pretty hefty at that—living expenses, utilities, transportation, food, entertainment, travel, cell phone, routine bills—and the list just goes on and on.
Saving isn’t always easy or fun, nor is it the first thing on your mind, especially as a young adult navigating through and enjoying every minute of college life, but it is important to focus on nonetheless.
To help you out on your saving journey, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks you can take advantage of while in college:
Open a Savings Account
Ready to save? Having your own savings account is the perfect place to start. Saving money and stashing it into a designated account helps you take control of your financial future and make progress toward your goals. Still on an account with your parents? That’s okay, but at this point, it’s probably a good time to open an account that’s exclusively yours. No matter how much or how little you save—whether that’s with cash you’ve gotten from an allowance, a babysitting gig or other part-time job, or money you’ve been gifted for your birthday or other special occasion—you’ve got to start somewhere. Building savings isn’t easy, but the earlier you start, the better. And trust me, your future self will thank you!
Find a Part-Time Job
Working while in college may not be top of mind, but it does have its fair share of advantages. For starters, not only can it help you afford personal expenses and offset tuition costs, but it can also encourage you to grow your savings. Additionally, you’ll gain a positive and valuable work experience that’ll teach you problem solving skills, time management skills, and how to be a team player, which will all be extremely appreciated by future employers. Look for jobs on and off campus at the library, student union, campus store, admissions office, movie theaters, or restaurants. Afraid working during college will cut into your own time too much? I get it; working can certainly be overwhelming while trying to maintain your studies and social life. So, if that is the case, you should at least consider a summer job. Summer is right around the corner after all! Look into babysitting, dog walking, and landscaping opportunities, or check out local restaurants, retail stores, and the pool for lifeguarding jobs.
Apply for Scholarships
I can’t stress this one enough—apply for as many scholarships as you can! Any scholarship program you come across will have its own set of requirements, but you can take comfort knowing that it’ll be worth it as there’s always some sort of nice cash reward in the end to help with tuition costs. Here at GOLD, for example, we award scholarship funds in the amount of $1,500 each year to five Members in support of their educational goals. We’ve already awarded our scholarships for this year but be sure to check back and apply next year. You never know, you could be one of the lucky winners!
Buy or Rent Textbooks
Textbooks are ridiculously expensive, but they’re kind of a necessity in order to study and pass your classes. Before visiting the campus bookstore, buy or rent used textbooks on Amazon.com, Chegg.com, Textbooks.com, or Barnes & Noble. After you’re finished and depending on whether or not you bought or rented the books, you’ll have the option to sell them or return them back to the retailer you purchased from. Another option would be to check with a classmate that may have taken the class before you to see if they’d be willing to sell you the book at a discounted price, or, if you’re really lucky, they’ll just hand it over free of charge!
Always Keep Your Student ID Handy
You’re already well-aware that college (and life!) are expensive, especially for a college kid on a tight budget. One of the simplest ways to save money is by keeping your student ID handy. You’d be surprised at how many places offer discounts to students—movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores, online retailers, hotels, cell phone carriers, insurance providers, concerts/live entertainment venues, and so much more. Check out a list of some of the awesome discounts available exclusively for college students.
Attend Free Events on Campus
College campuses always host tons of fantastic events for students throughout the year as a way to keep you more involved, entertained, connected, and engaged. Best part? More often than not, these events are completely free! And if they’re not free, they’re typically fairly inexpensive. Most campuses offer health and fitness classes, movie nights, concerts, live music, lectures, workshops, sporting events, art classes, poetry/open mic/karaoke nights, trivia, bingo, and so much more. Be sure to check out your school’s activities calendar regularly to see what kinds of events are happening that interest you and enjoy the savings that come along with it.
Embrace a Save First Mentality
Getting into a healthy saving mindset takes motivation and discipline, but it’s important to recognize and understand the impact that saving money can have on you now and in the future.
Think of the saying, “save first, spend later,” and embrace a save first mentality. Regardless of how you’re earning your money, be sure to first set aside a portion to save and then spend whatever you have left over as needed or as you so choose. In doing so, you’ll enjoy watching your savings grow over time. Plus, you’ll avoid overspending on things you don’t necessarily need.
Embracing a save first mentality allows you to form responsible saving and spending habits that’ll last you a lifetime.
These are just a few tips and tricks that can help you save money as you navigate your way through college. Give them a try and see how they work for you. All of us at GOLD are rooting for you and cheering you on every step of the way!