Making the decision to go with your friends to Paulus Orchard can be hard when you reach in to your wallet for the third time this week. Then you have to talk yourself through how you will spend less money, starting next week.
It’s difficult to save money while at school, but trying to boost your savings account to prepare for graduation is twice as hard.
Here are some tips on how you can maximize your savings, while still enjoying your semester.
1. Record what you spend.
Without writing down what you spend, it’s easier to spend money that can add up quickly. Professor Kathleen Johnston, Assistant Professor of Accounting, recommends recording your expenses to see where you can improve.
“Students should keep track of all of their expenses for a week. They will be surprised at how much money they spend on things they really don’t need,” says Johnston.
Johnston also says it is important to “identify a need versus a want.”
It is essential to ask yourself if you really need something such as Starbucks when you have coffee in your room.
2. Create a budget.
It’s important to decide where your money should go. Planning, before you receive money, helps in the decision making process when your friend invites you to Baker’s.
“Creating a budget for yourself is the best way that I have found to save money,” says Senior Accounting major Courtney Allen. “By taking the time to think about how much money you have coming in and only spending money within your set boundary, you can easily keep your savings account steady.”
Setting boundaries for yourself allows you to spend money each week, while still putting the rest into your savings.
3. Set amounts to put in your savings account.
When creating a budget, setting a specific amount into your savings allows for a constant flow of money, even if you occasionally take money out for books, meals, etc.
You can even set aside a certain amount to keep each week for personal use. This will keep you on track with your set budget.
Even though you are saving money, you can still keep spending money on yourself as long as you stay within the boundaries you set.
“This way you don’t have to sacrifice some of the things you love, but also aren’t getting carried away with excessive spending,” says Allen.
4. Use coupons and search for savings.
Student loans and school expenses can be stressful, so saving any way you can is extremely beneficial.
Many companies offer discounts to college students when they show their student ID, and it never hurts to ask the waiter when you go out to dinner with your friends.
“Many times students will be surprised how many businesses, even nationally, will give discounts to students that show their college ID,” says Allen.
Students in apartments often have to worry about spending money on groceries every week. Coupons are a great way to save money and can lower grocery costs.
5. Set manageable goals.
Having manageable goals is extremely important to know where you want to be in regards to your finances. Set both long-term and short-term goals, and find ways you can get there.
“By setting goals and writing down your spending habits, you don’t aimlessly spend money and you know what you absolutely need, while cutting out unnecessary spending,” says Senior Accounting major Garth Martin.
Martin also stresses how important it is to record your goals. Without knowing your plan and seeing how well you are doing along the way, “you won’t be able to manage your savings,” he says.
Johnston shows two videos to her personal finance class, which offer more insight on how to maximize your savings account and tips to save money as a college student.
With these tips, helpful advice from people in the field, and a willingness to track your spending, you will be well on your way to maximizing your savings.
Next time your friends ask you to go to dinner, you will be able to see how much spending money you have and make your decision knowing what your budget is.
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