Ultimate Guide to Help College Students Save Money
As a college student, financial planning is probably the last thing on your mind. College is seen as a time for finding your passion, charting your career path, and partying. But the financial decisions you make in college will reverberate throughout your life for years, even decades.
With college costs soaring, more people are accumulating mountains of debt to pay for their education. However, that debt can affect your future in all sorts of ways, from what kind of car you can afford, how much you can save for retirement, to whether you buy a home or rent. Minimizing your debt now will make life much easier once you’re out of school.
Whether you’re just starting your freshman year or are already a couple of years into your college career, this is an excellent time to start building good money habits. Graduating with a good credit score can help set you up for future financial success. The higher your credit score, the better terms you’ll receive on financial products, like credit cards and loans, which can save you thousands of dollars in interest in the long run.
Plus, if you establish good money habits now, such as regularly monitoring your accounts (checking, savings and any credit cards you have), you can stay on top of changes to your credit history. This can help you track your progress toward a good credit score and spot fraud early, which can save you time and money in the long run.
Budgeting on a student income
The starting point for budgeting is to work out what you have coming in. This might seem like stating the obvious, but when was the last time you sat down and spent 30 minutes looking at your personal budget? And there is little point in doing this only once a year; it needs to be regularly reviewed to take into account changes in your lifestyle and larger one-off outgoings.
If you start the month by looking at your income and expected outgoings then there are less likely to be any surprises towards the end of the month. You will be better able to see where there may be shortfalls and plan accordingly.
Check for student discounts
Discounts for students are available online and in-person, at retail shops, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums, exhibitions, gigs, and more. You can usually get 10 – 20% off the full price, and over time, you can save quite a bit of cash, especially when it comes to birthdays, special occasions, or even just the occasional treat.
While you’ll usually be prompted at the checkout, look for a discount or student price, or ask if you’re not sure. There are various sites and apps which let you search for discounts and deals depending on what you’re after, plus we have our own student discounts pages for you to access right now.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help
Often students will avoid reaching out to people who can help them until it’s too late and they’re already in financial trouble. Avoid doing this. If you’re strapped for cash, reach out to those around you for help. Let your family know. Ask your parents or grandparents to send you money or for a loan.
You can also contact your Enrollment Services Advisor for advice on what to do. ES Advisors can help you craft a budget and a solid plan for easing your financial woes.
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