5 Helpful Tips for the Poor College Student

College students are pretty well-known for being tight on cash. Hopefully by the time we’ve entered college we’ve learned a thing or two about money management, but if not, here are a few helpful tips when it comes to managing — and saving — cash.

  • Get a savings account

Getting a savings account is something I highly recommend. At the beginning of each quarter I receive my financial aid for the entire quarter. The day I receive it I make sure to set aside the cash I will need for rent and other bills into my savings account. I didn’t want to chance using that cash by accident if I hadn’t have put it in my savings account and end up running low on cash at the end of the quarter! That would be a nightmare.

If you have a similar situation, I’d look into getting a savings account. I, for one, have a shopping problem so this has helped me avoid spending the cash I’ll need later down the road.

  • Keep your receipt

We’ve all had one cashier ask us if we want our receipt. Sometimes we say yes without even taking another look at the receipt when we get home. I know because this has been me on many occasions to the point where I find myself telling them to keep the receipt. But asking for your receipt can be a big help! Every week (or month), go through your receipts and double-check everything in your bank account. This will not only make sure your bank account reflects the right amount but it’ll get you to see what you’re spending and on what.

  • Keeping up with the times: Many stores now offer to email you your receipts. Try this idea if you think your receipt will go missing. Now you can just simply check your email for a copy of your receipt and save a tree in the process.

And if you find that you’ve spent way too much at your favorite clothing store this past month, you can now be sure to cut back in the months to come – no matter how heartbreaking it is for you. (I understand).

  • Coupons

As a teenager we probably didn’t even think twice about using coupons. But as we grow older and our parents are (for the most part) not paying for every single one of our expenses, we become more mindful of the cash we are spending. Suddenly that $40 oversized, cream sweater is far more expensive than you thought. But that’s when coupons come in handy!

Look for coupons in your local newspaper as well as online. Subscribe to receive magazines from your favorite clothing stores. These magazines often come with coupons and deals just for you!

Many stores even have an email list you can sign up on to receive specials and discounts. If that doesn’t suit your needs, check out what mobile apps are available for your phone. There are quite a few apps that give you coupons your cashier can scan right off of your phone! Come on, you always have your phone handy anyway.

  • Stock up on sales

Running out of household essentials? Check your local stores for sales on the items you use and stock up! You’ll be using these items eventually, so it’s best to buy as much as you can before the sale ends. Of course, this would apply best for items such as napkins and shampoo and not so much for food items that expire quickly.

  • Check — and double check — your prices

Just because it’s a generic brand it doesn’t mean it’s cheaper. Sometimes what you think is cheaper really isn’t. When you’re at the store, be mindful of what you’re spending and make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck. Maybe even try going to a farmer’s market rather than your average grocery store. Sometimes you can find a better deal and taking a look around can be fun!

College students are always looking for ways to save a dime or two, especially with the price of gas these days. With these suggestions, hopefully you’ll be saving enough for your next round of textbooks. Happy saving!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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