Smart Ways To Save Money In College

Don’t throw your piggy bank away just yet! You may find yourself wanting it, come time for college. Whether tuition payment is coming out of your pocket or your parent’s, there’s no denying that school is expensive all around. Tuition isn’t the only thing that costs a pretty penny; you’re going to need to save up for books, food, living expenses, and whatever else you need extra spending cash for. While saving was probably easy when you were younger and didn’t have as much to pay for, these saving-habits become difficult once college begins. So what are some good ways to save?

When I said don’t get rid of your piggy bank, I wasn’t kidding. Okay, maybe a piggy bank is a little past our age, but mason jars or other lidded containers make great alternatives. As a server, I’ve found that keeping a mason jar in my room to dump my change and dollars in is an easy way to save. In fact, I have multiple jars because I don’t get to the bank as often as I’d like. I have one dedicated towards my rent, one for my upcoming study abroad trip, and another for what is left over. When I get home from work I split my tips up into three piles and put them into the jars; I then have a paint marker that I write on the outside of the jar how much I put in so I can keep track of the amount without having to recount it every time. If you don’t want to write on the jars, taping a piece of paper around the outside works well too. Keeping a precise count of everything also makes it less tempting to randomly grab cash when you want it.

Another way to save is to have everything sent to and stay in your bank account. If the money is in your account, taking cash out is sometimes a hassle; but this is good because then you’ll only take out money when you really need it. I used to get paper checks weekly from my work, cash them at the bank right next door, then spend all my money on pointless things. Then I realized I could have my checks sent directly (called direct deposit) to my checking account without having to do any work myself. By doing this, I’ve saved tons of money because it’s sent directly to the account I use to pay my rent, so I don’t touch it!

Since students usually have at least one checking and one savings account (and sometimes many more), keeping track of balances can get confusing. Well, there’s a website called Mint.com that does all that work for you! You set it up so it’s hooked to all of your accounts, then anytime you take cash out or put some in, as well as use your debit card if it’s with your checking account, it will keep track. Anytime there’s a low balance on an account, an email is sent letting you know so you don’t overdraft, which usually costs a fee. Mint.com also keeps track of how much you’re spending on things such as food and clothes, letting you compare month-by-month to see if you spent too much in one category. This is helpful when you have extra money but you’re not sure what would be most useful to spend (or save!) on.

Once you step into the world of college, you’ve officially become an adult. This means no longer relying on your parents to keep track of all your expenses, even if they are better at it. Incorporating some of these money-saving tricks into your daily schedule should help you learn the importance of saving. There are many random little fees and payments you’ll be making all the time that can add up very quickly (parking tickets, anyone?), so having extra savings on the side is always a good idea.

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Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson is a junior at Michigan State University working towards her journalism degree with a specialization in documentary film. She designs and writes for a campus magazine and is a server at Bob Evans. When Jordyn has free time she likes to watch movies and her favorite show Breaking Bad, spend hours on tumblr, go on adventures with friends and travel.
Jordyn Timpson

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