4 Simple Tips for Saving While in College

College may be the most difficult time to save, but it sets the tone for your entire financial future. Advance planning now will make security all the more attainable down the road.

Expenses, both expected- like clothing, rent and food-and unexpected, like car repairs or family weddings, come fast and furious as soon as you’re out of school, and it really helps to be prepared by having developed good saving habits.

Here are four simple and effective tips to put you on the fast track toward building up a nest egg, even while you’re still in school.

1. Prioritize

What you need and what you desire may not always match up. Cutting out small expenses, many that you will hardly miss-will add up over time. To make this work, you have to put the exact amount you would have been spending (or more) into savings. Identify a few things you can skip (expensive lunches, DVD rentals, overpriced junk food) and enforce it .

Every few months you can take a portion of what you saved and spend it on a dinner out, or spruce up your dorm with something like decorative wall art. Feeling deprived can sabotage your savings routine and encourage you to slip back into old habits. To avoid that pitfall, reward yourself by budgeting in a treat for yourself now and again.

2. Get a J-O-B

A part time job at a store or restaurant, providing dog walking services, selling unwanted collectibles through online merchants, tutoring high school students, babysitting, commandeering block sales on weekends back home…. all of these are viable options. Just be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Don’t be tempted to take on more hours than your grades can afford.

3. Bargain Shop

It is foolish to pay top dollar for essential items like good dorm bedding and linens. Instead, look for good deals like the Complete Campus Collection and put away the difference into savings. Clip coupons and check out sales circulars to save on groceries. Most grocery stores and pharmacies now issue a customer loyalty card that you need for special discounts and the savings do really add up.

You really should always ask if there is a student discount before you pay for anything. You’ll find that even if there isn’t a hard and fast company policy, often some discount will often be extended to you courtesy of many small businesses. Merely ask and have your current student ID with you to present to them.

Think about getting a free haircut at a local cosmetology school to save big on personal grooming. Don’t worry, the instructor is there to guide the student. It may take a little longer, but you will end up looking good. Sometimes even fancy salons have training days and will provide free services to volunteer models. Only catch is, you might not have much of a choice regarding style.

4. Always Pay Yourself First

Fund your savings before paying any expenses or buying anything. This is a tip money experts always recommend whatever the fiscal climate. Take a percentage of your earnings off the top, usually 10 to 20 percent, and have it deposited directly into savings.

It’s best to set this up to happen automatically, this way you will never miss the cash.

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Amanda Greene

Amanda Greene

Amanda Greene is author and Brand Manager for RHL, the leading online supplier of dorm essentials. She enjoys writing about college and dorm life.
Amanda Greene

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