Tag Archives: Save Smart

America Saves Week: Saving for Emergencies in College

4 Mar

AmericaSaves-Leaderboard-728x90-static-rainyday.jpgEmergency savings aren’t for fun. When you don’t need it, you look at a nice sum in the bank that you could be using for something fun. When you do need it, you’re going through some sort of financial crisis and probably won’t be patting yourself on the back for being prepared.ASW Emergency 2 TXT.jpg

As a college student you might not have a lot of spare money sitting around, but having some cash set aside is a lot more pleasant than having to ask the Bank of Mom & Dad for funds because you weren’t prepared. Even if you need to ask for some help, you can save a lot of pride if you let them know you’re able to contribute toward whatever emergency you have.

So how much money should a student save for emergencies? There’s no answer to cover everyone other than “it depends”. The best advice is to anticipate what types of emergencies you may need it for. Things like blowing the transmission in your car, unplanned travel to be with a friend, embarrassing personal health situations, or minor legal issues (like tickets) can all be things that you might feel weird asking your parents to help cover. Even asking for help with reasonable things like food and rent can be uncomfortable if they know that you blew the money you were supposed to use.

A good goal is to save around $500 somewhere where you can’t spend it easily, but can access it when you absolutely need it. That might not cover everything, but it’s a good start on most minor situations you will find yourself in.

How do you get that $500 saved up? Here are three ideas:

  1. If you work, funnel a little bit off each paycheck or from your tips to slowly build it up. Just be sure to keep the money safe from yourself so you don’t use it for impulse purchases. If you treat your emergency fund like a bill and pay yourself first, you won’t miss the money.
  2. When your disbursement comes from extra scholarship, grant, and loan money, take out the $500 then and set it aside.
  3. Save up those mini-windfalls you might get from birthdays, tax returns, and holidays.

It might seem like $500 is a lot to save. But it will feel like even more when you have to pay it in a pinch and don’t have it. Whatever your goal is, set it and get after it. Consider making a pledge to save with America Saves Week as extra motivation to get started.

And remember…

Emergency savings are for emergencies!

It’s Time to Review Your Budget!

29 Jun

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator

close up dollar bills

So, back in January you read our blog post on budgeting, created your own budget and have been dutifully following it since…right? But what’s in that budget? And why is it budgeted for that amount?

Consider this list of questions as you review your budget:

When was the last time you reviewed your budget?

Is everything listed in your budget still relevant?

Are there any reoccurring expenses not included or that you need to remove?

Are you budgeting your ‘fun money’? If not, why not? If yes, are staying in that budget? Does your ‘fun money’ allotment need increased or decreased at all?

Are you setting aside money for a big savings goal? Why or why not? If you’re not, can you think of a goal that you can save up for?

What’s sucking money from your budget? How can you fix that?

Is there a portion of your budget that you’re just not spending money on anymore? Where’s that money really going?

Where can you cut back to put more towards your big savings goal?


Do you have any other tips of things to consider as we all review our budgets this month? Please share in the comments below!


26 Jan

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

house on a lake; text overlay: minimalism

Have you heard of this yet? The idea is that you willingly choose to live with less: specifically less things, less distractions from life. Not only does it include paring down your shoe collection and stack of magazines, but it also means evaluating everything in your life that is taking up space both actual and symbolic (i.e., do you really need 845 Facebook friends?).

There’s a lot of talk going on about minimalism (and even some controversy) and what it means in a consumer society like the United States’ today. We’ve become so obsessed with our possessions that we’re not paying attention to the actual people and how they matter in our life. Think about it… As a college student you may feel like you “never have time” to see your friends, get your homework done, and eat a decent meal…but how many times did you check Facebook today? How long did it take you to sort through the pile of clothes on your floor to find something to wear?

These guys have gotten lots of attention for their minimalist lifestyles, and they have a documentary coming out about it next year. Both of them had the jobs and lives we think we’re supposed to have (6 figure  salary, easily obtained high end products, big houses, etc.) but they weren’t actually happy. And once they realized how much their stuff was holding them back, they freed themselves from the very frustration of “stuff”.

It’s hard to admit how dependent and addicted we are to our stuff sometimes because our world tends to measure successes by how much stuff we have accumulated and can afford… But is it always worth it if it doesn’t bring lasting happiness?

This can really be applied across all aspects of life. We can’t take a vacation because we have to work, which we do to earn money for the vacation, but then we buy things for and during the vacation that take away from the experience of going on that vacation with others. It can be exhausting and psychologically impeding. Keeping up with our stuff takes too much of our time and space. And that’s exactly what minimalism is fighting. It’s fighting against not just the addiction of stuff, but also the sense of emptiness more stuff brings.

The same guys I mentioned earlier had a minimalist game out a couple years ago where you get rid of stuff every day for a month. Day 1, one thing, Day 2, two things…Day 30, 30 things. By the end of 30 days that’s 465 things! I bet you don’t even think you own 465 things (and if you’re living in a dorm, you probably really shouldn’t) but everything counts: each piece of clothing, every bottle of nail polish, every half-empty deodorant bottle, every old container of mints, every cup of Ramen you never got around to eating. Every one of these is stuff that’s taking up space and creating chaos in that space.
Is this a challenge you’ve tried or are interested in trying? Let us know in the comments below!

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