Smart Money Moves for College Students
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Possibly one of the most common things I hear around campus is, “That sounds like fun, but I’m totally broke.” College students are notoriously broke, and sometimes even take pride in how we can get around stuff by spending the bare minimum. It’s almost like a game. Regardless, we are always looking for ways to save money so we can spend it on more awesome things (read: alcohol). Here are a few quick tips that will help keep more money in your wallet and also will help you become more financially savvy.
Make a Budget
I know, you’re already way too busy to add another thing to your to do list. But the reality is that if you just spend an hour or two every month figuring out how you are going to spend and save your money, you might actually figure out a way to save more money. For instance, if you say, “Okay, I’m only going to spend such and such money on eating out this month,” then you’ve set yourself a goal. Once you reach that point, you know you shouldn’t spend anymore money on eating out. If you didn’t make that plan, you might be spending more money than you realize on certain things.
In addition to saving you money, planning a budger is a great tool that you’ll have to do when you get older and get out of college. It’s a skill that you should practice while you’re still in college and have a little bit more leeway.
Build Up Your Credit
Building up your credit may not necessarily help you save money right now, but it is definitely something you should be doing now as a college student. You’ll need credit for loans after college for a car, graduate school, or someday even a house. One of the easiest ways to build up your credit is to get a credit card and pay off your balance every month. Of course, actually getting a credit card as a college student can be difficult. HerCampus wrote an extremely thorough article of what it takes to apply for a credit card and which kind of card you should be looking for. You can read their article here.
There are other ways you can build up your credit. You can take a small loan out from your bank for something like your books, and then pay the loan back quickly with money you already have saved up. For more tips on how to build up your credit without using a credit card, check out this article.
Stop Spending Unnecessary Money
Well, duh. That just seems like a stupid suggestion. However, if you look closely at your spending habits, you might notice that you spend quite a bit on some items that are completely unnecessary. Some of the biggest money wasters, according to CNNMoney, are things like
- ATM Fees – You can easily look up an ATM of your bank that won’t charge you that annoying $2 extra fee for using their machine
- Bottled Water – This is my biggest pet peeve. Getting a filtered pitcher for twenty bucks will save you hundreds of dollars a year, not to mention it helps save the environment. It’s really a no brainer.
- Brand Name Groceries – I’ll admit, I totally spend that extra one or two bucks for brand foods that I know that I love, like my favorite flash-frozen green beans or that specific brand of meatballs. But for the things that don’t really matter, there is no shame in buying a generic brand that will end up saving you quite a bit once you get to the check out counter and all of your groceries tally up
- Eating Out – It will almost always cost more per meal to eat out than it will to cook for yourself. Avoid eating out. It’s healthier for you and you save money
Cut these unnecessary spending habits out of your life, and you’ll be using that money for better purposes.
What money tips do you have for other college students? Let us know in the comments!