Do you ever find yourself struggling to save money in college? Trust me, I am on the same boat. Most, if not all students have trouble managing their income because of different reasons. However, if you think about it, many of the ways we tend to spend our money is not necessary. I will provide you with 7 easy steps to follow during your college career that will allow you to increase your savings.
#1 Start Cooking
Are you the type of person that always buys breakfast, lunch and dinner? If the answer is yes –It is time for you to stop doing this. Buying every single meal you consume on a daily basis will cost you around $40 (cost may vary depending on what you eat), which results in a total of $280 a week. However, if you buy groceries for the three meals a day, you will save $180, as you are likely to spend only a $100 in one week approximately. Do not shop unnecessary products, think of what you are likely to eat and purchase wisely. Once you start buying groceries, compare prices. When I started cooking, I compared prices between Star Market, Trader Joes, and a couple of other supermarkets. I realized that Trader Joes offers the cheapest and most convenient products for me. However, this might be different for you depending on what your tastes and preferences are.
#2 Make Coffee
Are you the type of person that NEEDS a cup of coffee or two a day to get your work done? I am one of those and I used to buy my Café Latte at Starbucks for $3.75 every day. I realized that spending $105 a month on coffee was an unnecessary expense as I could easily make coffee at home by simply buying my half and half milk, sweetener, and coffee beans in Trader Joes for less than $10.
#3 Start Walking
An important skill to develop for all college students is to learn how to stop procrastinating. Procrastination is a waste of time and time is an opportunity cost decision. If you are able to finish your work in time you will be able to take the 10 minute walk to class rather than paying a $6.00 Uber to arrive in time. If you live 30 minutes away and it is a lovely sunny day, WALK, it is also a workout! You don´t always have to walk however, you can also take the Train or Uber pool instead –this will save you a lot!
#4 Cheat Smart: Coupons & Special Offers
Always take advantage of student discounts, coupons, and special offers! If you are a client at Sephora, make sure you become a “beauty insider” to get reward points and get free products and discounts. If you are a pizza lover, take advantage of the 2*1 coupons they provide. Or if you love brands, go to outlet stores, you will find the same items cheaper.
#5 Record your expenses
Take a notebook or create an excel document on your computer and record every time you spend money. Whether you buy groceries or a pair of jeans. Keeping track of what you spend regularly will allow you to see all your expenditures and evaluate which expenses are necessary and what you could avoid purchasing in the future.
#6 Create a Savings Account
Do you work while you are in College? If yes, save it! If you do not work and get a monthly income from your family, always save part of it, even if it is only 1/10 of the income. Create a savings account and deposit it. Make sure you do not touch your savings account, only savings!!
#7 Start Investing
If you are interested in the finance world, take those savings and create a diversified portfolio. You can invest your savings you accumulated and start tripling it. In order to start investing you will first need to study the current market, evaluate which stocks/bonds/mutual funds you would like to consider, have a budget, and then create your portfolio. Although there is a risk, if you are able to generate a secure diversified portfolio, risks are lower and the likelihood to yield returns of investment are higher.