Saving money in college is about a lot more than just cutting coupons for school supplies. Not only should you work on reducing your expenses, but you should also work on putting money away for the future. Whether this becomes a rainy day fund or the start to a down payment on a house, you will be happy you worked hard to save money.
Here are six easy ways to build a savings account in college.
Don’t Spend Your Change
If you use cash to pay for things, don’t spend any of the change you get back. Get in a habit of putting that change in a special jar or a piggy bank at home, and then when it gets full, take it into the bank account. You might not think this will add up to much money, but you could be saving several dollars a day just in coins. This will quickly add up to a hefty savings account.
If you normally pay with your bank card instead of cash, you may ask your bank if they have a way to save your “change” for you. The bank will round your transactions up to the next dollar and then put the change that is leftover into a savings account for you. Not all banks offer this service, but those that do essentially provide a digital alternative to coins and piggy banks. Explore your options to see if you can save money this way.
Reduce Your Bills But Not Your Expenses
Another great way to build a savings account is to cut back on your monthly bills while still keeping your expenses the same. In other words, you can reduce the bills you have to pay and put the money that you’re now saving into a savings account. Of course, this only works if you are able to keep up with your current bills. If not, you will need to just focus on getting your finances in order. If you are comfortable at you current spending level though, try to use less electricity, fuel, and water throughout the month so you can put away the extra money you’re saving.
Set up an Autodraft
You can set up an automatic deposit from your checking account to your savings account. Most people will do this once or twice a month, depending on how they get paid. The money that gets taken out does not have to be much. $5 a week will still add up to $260 at the end of the year. The only thing you have to worry about in this case is whether or not your bank charges an autodraft fee, but most of them will not. As long as there is ample funding for the deposit in your account, you will be able to save money without even thinking about it.
Take on Side Work in Your Spare Time
If you have a decent amount of free time after classes and your regular job, you might take on some side work to build your savings account. For instance, you might babysit on the weekends and put the money you earn away for the future. A lot of college students will use this side income to go shopping or go party with their friends, but saving it may be a wiser decision for the future. You might not be thrilled with having to pinch pennies, but you will be glad you have if you need some emergency funds in the future.
If you don’t have time to actually work to earn extra money, consider selling off some stuff you no longer need. Clothes, electronics, movies, and video games can all be potential sources of money for you.
Work Even If You Get an Allowance
If you are lucky enough to get an allowance from your parents, try not to use that money for your living expenses. Instead, work to pay for your bills and then use the allowance money for savings. You don’t have to tell your parents that you are saving the money. They won’t care what you do with it as long as your bills are paid and you are eating well. Sure, this puts more pressure on you, but it will teach you great long-term financial habits.
Turn Your Savings into a Bill
When all else fails, treat your savings like you would any other bill. Don’t make it something that you do whenever you think you have the extra money to save, because you will inevitably find new ways to spend that money. If you consciously tell yourself “I’m going to save $20 every paycheck,” then you have a goal that you strive to meet. Be hard on yourself to pull the extra hours to cover your savings “bill” every month. If you start to get lazy about it, you will soon see your savings account dwindle into nothingness. Saving money is all about putting your mind to it and watching the dollars roll in. Commit to it now, and you will be set for the future.