It’s a solid fact that college students always struggle with money. As soon as we are accepted into a college, a huge wave of debt hits us in the face. We blow our money on everything; from clothes, food, junk we might not really need but should have, and of course, the midnight trips to the vending machine. Sure, we have pub-cash to bail us out but that never lasts very long. $100 in pub-cash may seem like it will hold out for the entire semester—and those who are smart about their money can manage to salvage what’s left of their pub-cash—but soon you’ll find yourself out of pub-cash, and out of actual money.
Though it might seem like you’re at the bottom of the money pit, there are ways that you can start saving your money. You’re a college student, use that as an advantage. A lot of places have student discounts, they might just not advertise it all the time. You should start getting into the habit of asking employees if they do any kind of special discounts for college students. That way, you can still buy all your favorite things without having to pay the full price. This includes fashion brands, news and entertainment apps, insurance, technology, travel, and sometimes food. So, take that little extra time to stop and ask around because you never know who offers this discount.
Another great way to save money has to do with your birthday. As if celebrating your birthday isn’t good enough, most restaurants—if not all—give you free desserts on your birthday. Who doesn’t love free things, especially dessert? Next time you go out with your friends or family on your special day, tell the restaurant that it’s your birthday and they’ll give you a sweet treat to help celebrate. It might not just be free dessert that some restaurants offer, either. Depending on the place, you can even get a free meal, or at least a really great deal. It also doesn’t have to be your birthday in order to get free food. Some companies will do a special event where they have a whole day of giving out free food. Ben & Jerry’s has a free ice cream day every year – so make sure you mark your calendar and figure out where the nearest Ben & Jerry’s is.
The obvious way to save money is to have a job, which is a no brainer. But even then, you can still nd yourself spending money that you might not want to spend or shouldn’t. That’s when you can turn towards your bank and start considering getting a credit card – if you don’t have one already. Be cautious though, credit cards aren’t magical where you can buy whatever you want without having any consequences in the end. When choosing your credit card, you need to read the fine details and see if there is any interest that you will have to pay off on top of paying off your credit card. There is also a certain limit on how much your credit card will hold. If you are considering getting a credit card, I suggest that you do some heavy research, or talk with your parents, before getting one. This way you’ll be more responsible when you do get one.
Bonus tip: to help give you an extra boost in the savings department, try taking a certain amount of money out of your bank account and put in a jar – somewhere secure, of course – every week. The rule is that you can’t touch the money at all, this is solely an emergency fund. You don’t have to take out a lot from your account, it’s up to you. Just keep in mind that this is a good way to make sure that you have that extra cash in your back pocket just in case something happens and you can’t use your card or need quick cash and don’t have time to go to the bank. It also helps with your guilty consciousness when you should dip into your savings account. With the money jar, you don’t have to feel guilty about transferring money from your savings to your checking account. I’ve started doing this, and it has saved me on more than one occasion. I learned this trick from my mom, who herself does it. It really helps and it will get you in the habit of being more mindful of how much money you are spending.