Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna
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?
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.
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.