How to Save Money While in College
It may seem impossible to save money while in college. But it’s a wise financial move that will pay off in the long run. For example, if you save enough money to pay for your tuition or even just your living expenses while in college, you will save thousands in student loan debt and interest later in life.
Chances are, you won’t be able to save enough to cover all your expenses while in college, so try choosing the most expensive one, and only borrow enough to cover the rest. You also may consider sticking to a college budget, which will also help you save money and avoid student debt. You should carefully monitor your college spending so you do not end up borrowing as much.
Try employing these saving strategies to save money while in college, maybe even to pay for college without working.
Start off with setting specific savings goals for yourself while in college. You should calculate the amount you need to save each month to reach your goal, such tuition costs or living expenses.
Then, simply divide the amount you need by the number of months that you have to save it. Each month, you then transfer that amount into your savings account and live on the remainder.
This can be a difficult thing to do, but you may consider cost savings measures like forgoing a dining plan, learning to eat all your meals in, or even moving home over the summers to save on costs. Even if you can not save the entire amount you need, you will still benefit from saving as much as possible. You may consider setting up an automatic debit to come out of your account the day after each paycheck. This will help you actually save the money instead of spending it.
While in college your savings should be fairly liquid. You do not want to put the money in a place where you can access it easily, like the stock market.
You may want to consider online savings accounts, which offer higher interest rates than local institutions. If you have an excellent part-time or full-time job and can meet your basic expenses, and pay for school with no loans, then you may consider really investing.
Choosing the right bank accounts for a college student can also help you save on fees and other costs. But be sure to choose the accounts that will not charge you any additional fees.
Saving in college isn't just about putting money into a savings account for a specific reason. It’s about setting yourself up to make wise financial decisions for life. Practicing this early in life will only help you be more financially successful later.
You may consider living off campus, living in a cheaper apartment, having roommates or cutting back on eating out. You can lower your cell phone plan, cut back on cable, or choose to take the bus or walk to most of your destinations.
In some cases, living off campus may actually save you quite a bit of money. You may forgo luxuries like ordering in, getting a manicure or a massage, or cutting back on weekend movies.
You still need to have fun, but it doesn't mean that you need to blow a hundred dollars every weekend. Limit the amount you can spend on fun each month. Even though you’re a college student, it’s still possible to find ways to save when money is tight.
Another option is to consider taking advantage of scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs offered through your school or part-time job. Remember, avoiding debt and having school paid for can only work to your benefit once you graduate.
Saving money while in college often sounds backward from what most other students are doing when borrowing to pay for school and using credit cards. As such, you may find it difficult to find the motivation to save money. You are only young once. You just want to have fun. Your parents never seemed to save money or they are helping you out with school. All your friends are going out and not saving money. There are a million ways to justify your expenses to yourself.
The bottom line is, it’s hard to cut back on your spending habits, and even harder to save money. But keep in mind that you are going to college to prepare yourself for a better future. You can further prepare yourself by establishing good habits now, like making saving automatic.
So whether you cut back on your spending, work a part-time job, or move home for the summer, remember it will make you better off in the future.
Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero.