Archive | Save Smart RSS feed for this section

Freshman Boot Camp: Money Saving Tips for Students

10 Aug

Jim Wang, Wallet Hacks
wallethacks.com

College is a fantastic time of exploration, freedom, and growth.

It’s also a time when many of our habits are formed, especially those about money and saving. These habits can have a ripple effect on your life so solidifying a few good practices today can help you better manage the future.

I have a list of 40+ money tips for college students, which cover the basics like emergency funds and budgeting, but today I wanted to share an extra set of just money saving tips every college student needs.6 Easy Money Saving Tips

Avoid credit card debt at all costs

It’s so easy to charge everything to plastic. Whether it’s textbooks, equipment, or a pizza, make sure that you pay off your credit card bill in full each month.

It’s so tempting to pay the minimum and push the debt off another month, but that will result in you paying hundreds of dollars (if not more!) in interest for nothing. If you don’t believe me, you can use this calculator to do the math yourself and find out how much that $20 pizza will cost you!

That’s money you can use to save for your retirement, for a new car, or your first house. Avoiding debt, especially high interest credit card debt, is priority number one after graduation.

Start budgeting

Budgeting isn’t the most fun thing to do but getting in the habit early is a good idea. When you budget, you have a better sense of where your money is going.

You can use tools like Mint or Personal Capital to help automate the process and when you’re older, you’ll appreciate the wealth of historic information you’re recording now.

Cook more, eat out less

Your studies and your social activities will probably take up a big chunk of your time, so you’ll be tempted to eat out more than you cook if you’re not on a university meal plan.

Resist the temptation! Eating at a restaurant, even a quick service one, is far more expensive than cooking at home. In the beginning, you’ll be terrible at it. Everyone is.

But stick with it and try to cook as much as you can. It’s healthier, cheaper, and you’ll get better the more often you do it.

Take advantage of student discounts

Businesses give student discounts all the time. They know that students don’t make a lot of money and they still want your business, so they’re willing to give you a break if they know you’re a student.

Always keep your student ID on you and ask if a student discount is available – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Use your student loan for tuition only!

Some student loans are deposited directly into your student account and some are deposited directly into your bank account. If you have one of the latter, do not use the money for anything other than tuition and school related expenses.

If you have no other choice, you can use it on necessities but your goal should be to avoid debt as much as possible. Sometimes you don’t have any other options, and that’s understandable, but make sure before you saddle yourself with student debt.

Earn a little cash in your spare time

We all have downtime during the day and on weekends – try to find a way to turn that time into money.

Whether it’s taking on a side gig, earning some cash online through surveys, or something bigger – building a side hustle that earns a little extra money can pay dividends in the long run. There are a lot of sites online that will pay you money for small segments of work, or gigs, and you can easily finish them in 5-15 minutes of down time.

Jim Wang writes about money on his personal finance blog, Wallet Hacks. Get his strategies and tactics for getting ahead financially and in life by joining his free newsletter.

Freshman Boot Camp: Budgeting Your Financial Aid Refund

9 Aug

One of the mantras told to college students is to “Live within your means”. While it’s good advice to generally follow, it doesn’t get at how difficult it can be to do so while you’re in college. One of the biggest challenges college students face is that their incoming flow of cash tends to be extremely irregular.Budgeting your Refund.png

You might be sitting on a big pile of cash after your financial aid refund comes in, but if you don’t budget it correctly you’ll be broke before the semester ends. So in order to avoid eating exclusively ramen at the end of the semester you’ll want to come up with a strategy for taking care of your money!

As a student, you probably have three potential avenues to get an incoming cash-flow. They are your financial aid refund, a part-time job, and cash gifts for holidays and your birthday. Your parents might also throw something your way once in a while but no one wants to have to ask just because you weren’t keeping track.

Making a realistic budget can be tough but once you know your income it does get a little bit easier. So total up what you’ll get between your financial aid refund and what you’ll get from work. If you know for sure what you’ll get for gifts you can toss that in, but that’s not a for-sure thing.

Next, start by totaling up all of your projected expenses for each month. Aside from obvious things like rent, utilities, food, and other monthly bills you’ll need to include a projected number for having fun. If you know some times of the year like Grand Prix or Homecoming you’ll be spending extra, try to account for that by varying it up by month.

What’s important here is to make sure that your total income is higher than your total expenditures. If it’s not, there’s going to be a big problem.

Assuming the numbers add up, you’ll have a little bit of a strange result. You’ll have your monthly expenditures but your income will be a combination of paychecks and a one-time refund from your financial aid.

There’s actually a surprisingly simple way to be able to make this into a steady income flow without being tempted by the big number in your checking account.

This method is called using a Holding Account. Basically you take the lump sum of money and deposit it into a bank account and set up recurring transfers to your primary checking account on a monthly basis. This way between your income from work and the transfers you’ll be able to pay your monthly expenses without having the temptation to make a big impulse purchase.

If you want to de-automate it a bit, you could actually have them both as checking accounts and write a check from your holding account to yourself on a bi-weekly or monthly basis and deposit it into your other checking account.

This system is not fool-proof but it combines the ability to pay your bills and have some fun while also putting up a small barrier to the full sum to keep you from tapping out your semester’s funds on a whim.

Something to note: make sure that your holding account doesn’t have any fees related to minimum transactions or minimum balance if you can. It doesn’t make any sense to pay one bank to hold your money when there’s plenty of others that’ll do it for free.

If you find that your financial aid refund is going to be much more than you’ll need to meet your expenses and you’re taking loans, it’s worth looking into reducing what you borrow. Remember that not only do you have to pay back what you borrow, you’ll be accruing interest on most loans until the day they are paid off.

3 details you should know while preparing for tax season 2017

12 Jan

Tax season can be an exciting time for savers. This year, more Americans are opting out of a tax time splurge and focusing on getting ahead with their tax refunds.

Early filers can still file as they normally would, but we’ve got a couple tips in mind for how your household can use this information to make the most of your tax time preparations:prep-for-tax-season

  1. File a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.You can’t get the EITC unless you file a return. End of story. Since the IRS estimates that about 25 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, this is a vital first step in determining your eligibility.Bonus? If this is the first year that you are claiming the credit, you can use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2015, 2014 and 2013. You can file any time during the year to claim the EITC. Something to know: A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. Learn more here.
  2. Decide where and how you will file your taxes and know your free options.Unless you know your return is going to be complicated this year, paying someone to file a tax return should always be a last resort. Decide whether you’d rather file online or in person, and then check out these free filing options:
    • Use Free File on IRS.gov– This free software walks you through a Q&A format to help prepare your return and claim every credit and deduction for which you may be eligible.
    • Try the Free File Fillable Forms– If you’re comfortable preparing your own returns, this option is for you! It allows you to file electronically using online versions of IRS paper forms.
    • Visit a free tax preparation site– If your total household income is less than $54,000 a year, you can seek free tax prep at one of thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (M-VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. To locate the nearest site, you can search online or call the IRS at 800-906-9887.
  3. Make a plan for your tax refund that accounts for the EITC/ACTC delay.We know it can be hard to come up with alternative funds if you already had plans for your refund early in the year, but don’t be suckered by refund anticipation products provided by many commercial tax return preparers. The loan fees will have you seeing red.If you start your planning by dedicating your refund, or at least part of it, to savings, you can get ahead of your savings goals. Enter  the SaveYourRefund promotion with $35,000 in cash prizes and 101 chances to win simply for saving a portion of your refund. For more information and how to commit to saving prior to filing your return , visit saveyourrefund.com.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

4 Financial Goals You Can Actually Achieve in 2017

21 Dec

Did you know that January 17th is known as “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day?” Most people start the new year with big, lofty goals and they quickly come to realize they bit off more than they can chew. According to the University of Scranton, around 40% of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions. Of that 40%, only 8% say they actually meet their goals.

The key to having successful resolutions is to make sure they are simple and achievable. Rather than setting a goal, such as “lose 10 pounds”, try to set a smaller resolution that you can control like, “go to the gym at least 3 days a week”.
Financial New Years Goals.jpg
In 2016, over 30% of Americans had a resolution to save more and spend less. In order to move closer to that goal, it’s important to set simple, achievable resolutions that will improve your finances. If you’re unsure where to start, try making any of these attainable goals your resolutions for 2017.

Saving Your Coffee Money
Coffee is a morning staple for so many people. However, those daily visits to your favorite shop can add up quickly. An average transaction at Starbucks this past year was nearly $9, that adds up to a whopping $2,340 a year! In 2017, set a goal to make your coffee at home. A new automatic coffee maker can be a great investment to ensure you get your coffee without having to spend the extra time and money every morning.

Cut One Service You Don’t Use
That $20 charge for a music-streaming service may not seem that expensive, but if you’re not using it, then you’re just wasting money you could actually be saving. Try laying out all of the expenses you have for services like these, in order of most used to least. For next year, cancel the service you least used this past year. Even if it’s only $20, it can lead up to $240 per year in savings! With technology improving more and more for streaming TV shows and movies, it may be time to finally cancel that cable subscription.

Understand Your Debt
Nearly every American will deal with debt at some point in their lives. From student loan debt to mortgages, it’s important to understand not only how much debt you have, but where it is and how it’s affecting your life. With the rising student loan debt each year, it’s important for graduates to understand each loan and how much their payments will be. To get ready for 2017, make a spreadsheet with all of the loan payments you have (education, car, home, etc.) and how much you can contribute each month to pay them off as quickly as possible. The sooner you pay them off, the more money you will save over the life of the loan. Also, the faster those loans are paid off, the quicker you can spend that money on something like retirement or that vacation you’ve always wanted. There are now even more services for graduates that allow to you refinance your loans, for a lower rate and even the ability to adjust or skip your monthly payment.

Brown Bag It
Grabbing that delicious salad from your favorite cafe may seem like a great idea in the moment, but doing that throughout the week can lead to a big chunk taken out of your bank account. The average lunch in the United States is around $10, so if you eat out every day of the week, excluding weekends, you will be spending around $2,600 a year just on lunch. For 2017, start bringing your lunch to work or school, rather than eating out, and watch just how much you save. Also, by making your lunch at home, you have the ability to control the portions and health benefits of your food.

Ultimately, whatever goals you hope to meet in 2017, just be sure that you make simple resolutions that you can actually achieve. Just like the fable The Tortoise and the Hare says, “slow and steady wins the race!”

21 Ways to Save Money in Everyday Life

6 Oct

21 ways to save leader.jpg

Financial wellness results from making decisions that support financial goals or priorities. If you spend money on a video game, you are unable to use those funds towards a goal you have, such as purchasing a vehicle or taking a vacation. Lower your miscellaneous expenses by using any combination of the following money-saving strategies:

  1. Reduce the cost of utilities.
    a. Disconnect your cable TV service.
    b. Turn off the lights when not in use. 
  2. Stop spending for things you don’t really need.
  3. Stop paying for purchases with your credit card. If you can’t pay for it this month, don’t push it to next month!
  4. Put all your loose change in a jar. Keep it for laundry, or save it for unexpected expenses.
  5. Reduce your food expenditures:
    a. Buy in bulk.
    b. Don’t shop more than once a week.
    c. Buy only what you have on your list, no impulse purchases!
    d. Compare prices.
    e. Don’t buy more than you can use. 
  6. Eat out less frequently and less expensively.
    a. Treat eating out as a luxury.
    b. Eat less expensive foods.
    c. Use restaurant coupons.
    d. Take advantage of early-bird specials.
    e. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re upset.
    f. Order entrees only, not expensive desserts or appetizers.
    g. Split or share meals with a friend.
    h. Pack your lunch and take it with you to school.
    i. Save half for leftover lunch the next day.
     
  7. Learn to cook for yourself.
  8. Find an alternative to driving your car. Rely on public transportation, friends, bikes, and your feet.
  9. If you MUST have a car, try the following tips:
    a. Wash your car yourself.
    b. Purchase regular, unleaded gas.
    c. Look for coupons for oil changes.
    d. To avoid long-term expenses, keep your car in shape.
    e. Use cash or debit cards to pay for gas.
    f. Carpool with friends. 
  10. Find free or inexpensive ways to entertain yourself:
    a. Matinee, discount movies.
    b. Local museums and parks.
    c. Ask about student discounts.
    d. Participate in sports.
    e. Join school clubs.
    f. Read books & borrow them from libraries.
    g. Hike a trail.
    h. Rent videos rather than buying DVDs.
    i. Buy season passes/book of tickets for activities you engage in frequently. 
  11. Take care of yourself, but look for deals.
    a. Avoid membership in trendy health clubs – use the schools’ facilities or the YMCA.
    b. Rely on coupons or specials for hairdressers/barbers.
    c. Don’t waste money on expensive cosmetics sold at department stores.
    d. Look for free-sample cosmetics, or purchase them at discount stores.
    e. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure instead of paying someone else to do it; have a manicure/pedicure party with your friends.
    f. Shop around; look for sales/specials. 
  12. Utilize cell phone plans that match your actual usage. No need for unlimited data if you’re in WiFi range 90% of the time.
  13. Stay away from the shopping mall and out of the stores (particularly when you’re upset or depressed).
  14. Avoid or reduce expensive luxury habits.
  15. Buy only products, clothes and food that you really need.
  16. Check out the costs of banking and negotiate what works best for you (e.g. avoid ATM fees, checking fees, designer checks, etc.)
  17. Don’t be influenced to spend by friends who have more money than you.
  18. Shop for clothes wisely.
    a. Shop at discount outlet stores, consignment stores, and campus thrift shops.
    b. Look for generic labels; avoid expensive name-brand clothing.
    c. Avoid buying and wearing clothes that must be dry-cleaned. 
  19. Select and purchase gifts only when they are on sale.
  20. Live at home or with a relative. Get a roommate.
  21. If you want or think you need something, wait a full 24 hours before you buy it.

Information based on USA Funds® Life Skills®. © 2002 United Student Aid Funds, Inc. Used with permission.

10 Steps to Financial Success

9 Aug

  1. Assess your station in life

    Taking an honest look at your wants and needs can help you prioritize what is most important to you right now. Do you feel good about your current station in life? Are you headed in the right direction?

  2. Plan for life changes

    Almost without exception, your needs are going to be different in five years than they are now. Whether you will be graduating, getting married, having children, or switching careers, there will be changes to account for. The best thing you can do is to be prepared for them.

  3. Invest in yourself10 financial tips portrait.jpg

    The one person you have to live with your entire life is you. Taking care of yourself mentally, financially, and physically on a consistent basis will reap lifelong benefits. In addition, challenge yourself to improve and try new things because a good investment should focus on growth, not staying the same.

  4. Write down your goals

    Having goals gives you something to work toward. Writing these goals down makes your plans concrete and more likely to materialize.

  5. Keep adequate records

    In addition to keeping track of tax and other documents for an appropriate length of time, you also want to keep records of your spending habits. You might feel like you’re spending too much on something, like eating out, but being able to track your spending will help you find out for sure.

  6. Pay yourself first

    Saving money can be simple or nearly impossible. If you take money from your paycheck and immediately deposit it into a savings account, it’s easy (completely effortless if via direct deposit). If you try to scrape together what’s left at the end of a pay period and deposit it to savings, or keep it sitting in your checking account, it’s almost impossible. Be sure your bills are paid, but consider setting aside a certain amount for savings each pay period.

  7. Cut expenses

    Even the most frugal among us have places where we can afford to cut costs in some capacity. For the average person, things like reducing bills, food costs, or under-used entertainment and gym memberships can make a significant financial impact in the short term.

  8. Spend much less than you earn

    Spending just a little less than you earn is a good way to perpetually live paycheck to paycheck. However, if you can reshape your

  9. Pay down your debt

    Debt can be an enormous stressor and it doesn’t get better by itself. Every dollar that you can pay back ahead of time is a dollar that doesn’t collect interest. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

  10. Create a budget and stick to it

    After you’ve gone through the first nine steps, this one is easy. Once you have an honest assessment of where you are and where you’re hoping to go, you can begin creating your budget. Design your budget so that you can pay for your needs, as well as the wants you have prioritized. The key is following through on your budget! Remember that the budget is simply a spending plan of where you want your funds to go. If you fail to follow through, you will hurt yourself, both now and in the future.

Saving Money in the Residence Halls

20 Jul

Tanya Khanna, Purdue University Student & Peer Counselor

There’s no doubt that attending college is a significant investment, but a little bit of planning can help you save a lot of money. Whether you decide to live in one of the University Residence Halls, or in an apartment off-campus, there are definitely many options that can help students reduce their daily college expenses. I’m going to cover four ways you can save money while living in a residence hall.

Student Life at Purdue 2

Taking Advantage of the Meal Plan

Students living in most of the University Residences are required to have a meal plan. Choosing the most appropriate meal plan can be an important factor in a student’s college expenses.  Sometimes it can be hard for students to be able to go to any of the 5 dining courts in between their busy schedules. Whenever I would have a short lunch break in between my classes, I took advantage of the On-The-Go options. On-The-Go is a great alternative for students with limited time, where they can grab a quick bite on their way to class, without letting their meal swipes go to waste.

Making Use of the Alternatives

Alternatively, most meal plans offer Dining Dollars. Dining Dollars can be used anywhere on campus such as cafes, restaurants at Purdue Memorial Union and the markets, to name a few. I would save on my snacks, milk and other personal necessities by using my dining dollars at on-campus markets like 3rd Street Market and Tarkington Market.

Microwave and Mini-Fridge

Not every student needs a microwave or fridge in their room. For me, however, that was a necessity. During my freshman year, my roommate and I decided to rent out a mini-fridge and microwave so we wouldn’t have the hassle of moving it out at the end of the year, or splitting it up. I realized later how investing in a microwave and fridge at the start of college was a much better choice than renting it out. Renting it for a year is just slightly cheaper than buying a new one for the first time; but in the long run, it’s actually more expensive!

Saving on Dorm Room Essentials

Another way to help save money while living in the Residence Halls is by limiting the number of things you have in your room. Coming to college for the first time can be very overwhelming, and students aren’t too sure what they will and will not need in their dorm room. Buying too many “dorm room essentials” is one of the most common mistakes a freshman can make. I’ve made this mistake too!

I bought myself a night lamp for late-night cramming sessions while my roommate was asleep; however, I never even used it because the desks provided in the dorms have a tube-light for that. Even though many “college check-lists” say this is essential, Purdue students living in the residence halls can take advantage of the one on their desk.

Most residence halls offer cleaning supplies that the residents can use to clean their room, such as a vacuum or mop, so a student could benefit from the offered cleaning supplies instead of purchasing them. I took advantage of them and never had an issue with availability or functionality.  Students may, however, want to keep a cleaning rag or something like that for convenience.

Purdue’s Residence Halls offer Wi-Fi in the rooms now! Students do not need to worry about getting their own router. The rooms also offer Ethernet cables for students! There are a lot of computer labs and printers (color printers too) available all over campus, including in each residence hall, so students can save on printer, ink and paper too. A small part of the students’ tuition is put towards printing so utilizing the university printers is a great option.

Whether you live on or off-campus, you can make use of the options offered to help reduce daily expenses. It all comes down to the your choices and preferences.

 

Do you have any tips on saving money while living in the residence halls? Share them in the comments below!

Let’s Talk Big Savings Goals

8 Jun

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

night sky; text overlay: Let's Talk Big Savings Goals

A lot of us have something we really want, but just can’t afford. Typically, we have to save money for these things. Whether it’s a study abroad trip, a wedding, a bigger and better computer, or even a house, your big savings goal is a BIG GOAL for you. It’s really important to keep these big savings goals in mind when creating your budget (and organizing your life in general).This way, your money is helping you work towards your goal, rather than holding you back. The money you earn isn’t really working in your favor if you aren’t spending it wisely.

What do you want most? Are you willing to work for it?

If not, then you don’t really want it. If you are, keep on reading! You’ve got a goal to save for!

How much of your monthly income can you save?

Pull out that budget you have and take a good hard look at your current savings rate, where you’re spending money, and where you’re wasting it. More than likely, you have enough room in your budget to save something, but you may have to reconsider where your money is going.  It is important to set at least some money aside each month to achieve your savings goals.

Make your goal visual

Putting money into savings can be so hard, especially for those of us who can feel it burning a hole in our pockets.  This is where visuals might be helpful. Get a cork board and pin up pictures of what you’ve saved for as you go. Once you’ve saved enough for a big piece of your goal (plane tickets, for example) draw up or print off a picture of that piece and put it on your board. This can help you keep your eyes on the prize and see what you’re working towards as you save, instead of just watching a number in your bank account slowly increase.

Determine your timeframe for saving

This needs to be realistic. As a student, you can’t afford a study abroad trip in a week or save for a house in a month (unless you’re totally loaded, in which case…this blog probably isn’t for you!). Let’s say you decide today that it’s really important for you to study abroad and you have 2 years left until you graduate. Your timeframe would be less than two years to save for that goal – which is pretty realistic! Your timeframe needs to line up with what you’re actually able to save every month. If it doesn’t, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your goal and your expectations.

Tips on how to save

-Keep a small visual of your goal handy (the background on your phone, a picture on your fridge, a sticky note of how close you’re getting to your savings goal on your computer screen).

Automate your savings.

-Save your change! Holding on to those pesky nickels and dimes could really add up!

-Track your savings via an app on your phone or with a countdown, whatever works for you.

-“Treat yourself” by putting money towards your goal.

 

Do you have a big savings goal? How do you save towards it?

Spending Summer $avings … the Right Way

1 Jun

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

girl gazing at mountains

Summer vacation has just started for some, and for others we are a month or two into the season. By now you’ve probably been able to save up a bit of money from your summer job. And if you haven’t been saving, you’re realizing now is the time to start. It’s great to save money from your job over the summer, but what exactly do you do with all that money you’ve been saving up?

Tuition Money

This is the most obvious option. If you’re working over the summer to pay for your schooling, this is one major expense your savings should be going towards. Earning money over the summer and saving a lump sum of your earnings for your tuition can keep you from taking out loans. As a result, you graduate with less debt increasing your discretionary income (income after taxes and current bills have been paid). This will save you interest over time and allow you to fund other investments like a house, car, or your retirement.  The Project on Student Debt had the following to say: “Seven in 10 college seniors (71%) who graduated last year had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. From 2008 to 2012, debt at graduation (federal and private loans combined) increased an average of six percent each year.” Imagine being part of the 29% instead of the 71%….

Put it Towards a Big Purchase

If your computer broke down on you during the school year and it’s something that you really need (not just for Facebook or Netflix) this is a legitimate expense to spend your hard-earned cash on. Other big purchases like brand-name purses, designer shoes, cologne or designer sunglasses are not really a good use of an entire summer’s wages.

Another big purchase you could put it towards would be a study abroad trip for next summer or school year (and I’m sure a summer in Paris sounds really good right about now after working the cash register for 30 hours every week). Purdue has numerous study abroad options for students of varying interests and majors. It’s also highly recommended by students and faculty that any student who wants to goes on a study abroad; it’s an experience of a lifetime.

Have Your Own Safety Net

Adults are always talking about having a 3-month, 6-month, one-year safety net of funds in case something was to happen to them. This money is the minimum that they would need to get by for a set-period of time if they were to remain unemployed for a time period. This is something college students should have too! What if you end up having to take 18-credit hours and it’s a really strenuous course-load that causes you to leave your part-time job? What if your car breaks down part way through the semester? How will your rent, water bill, cell phone, etc. get paid? You’re a student first and foremost in college, and planning ahead and saving can help keep that priority in focus.

Invest It

One thing college students typically don’t think about is investing. Investing is something you do once you’ve graduated and are bringing in a steady paycheck. But, there’s no better time like the present to start investing! It’s important to do your research before you start. You may want to look into what options your own bank has for investments and compare them to other options like Roth IRAs or investing straight into the stock market. This is a good option especially if you have a large sum saved up, already have your tuition covered, and have a safety net established.

These are just a few of your options to help you get set up for the long-term versus just satisfying you in the short-term. It’s always good to plan ahead, and saving money is one tool at your disposal. Do any of you already have plans for what you’re using your summer savings for?  Share your summer plans below.

Frugal Living Tips I Learned in College

11 May

close up dollar bills

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

There is a lot of information out there about how to live frugally, how to retire early, how to DIY this or that or this AND that, and multiple success stories of people escaping debt. It can get overwhelming, and a little hard to translate to college life since most of the sources out there are addressing “life after college.” Here are some tips to make it a little bit easier now rather than later!

Buy your books used

Whether that’s in the bookstore or online or wherever, you will most likely not use that textbook again. This is one of the easiest places to cut costs. However, there can be exceptions; I was an English major and most of my “textbooks” were novels and professors always wanted a specific version of a text, so sometimes it was more convenient to just buy it new, have the right page numbers, and gain a new novel for my shelf in the process. You may also have a newer version of a text written by the professor or a school-specific book and there’s usually no way around buying those new. But most of us find that used books are an accessible option each year for helping reduce costs!

It’s okay to say “no” to friends sometimes

There’s a lot of pressure in college to keep up with a lot of things: school, work, friendships, your finances, applying for jobs after college, keeping up with your family, your weekly TV, etc. That can get really overwhelming really fast! And it can get especially overwhelming if you’re worried about money. And add friends who constantly want to go out and do things…it can be a recipe for financial disaster! Let your friends know that you’re not trying to be a ‘Debbie Downer’, but you’re just really focusing on being smart with your money right now and that means limiting how much you spend. Be sure to always offer a less expensive (or free!) alternative such as a movie night in your residence hall or baking cookies together. Spending time together is often way more fun than spending money together.

Pack your lunch

This is for those who live off-campus or are commuting. You’ll quickly spend a lot of money on convenience food if you don’t watch out. Packing a lunch (or breakfast or dinner, depending on your schedule) can easily save you $3-$10 each day. Plus, didn’t you go grocery shopping this week? You don’t want to waste the food in your fridge. And along these lines…you should try to break your expensive coffee habit. Making up a to-go mug of coffee at home can save you a whole bunch of money every day! And some coffee shops may even offer discounts for using your own mug, so if you need a second cup of joe in the middle of the day, you can save a little that way too.

Just take the bus

It can save you time and money. It’s really not that scary. It is also better for the environment and helps avoid the stress of parking on campus!

 

What are some of your favorite spending tips you’ve learned in college? Share with us in the comments below!

%d bloggers like this: