How can I save while going to university? How much should I save as a student? And what are good money-saving tips for students?
Learning how to save money as a student can almost be as challenging as your courses – but the good news is, it is possible. Let’s find out how…
How College Students Can Save Money
As a student, you may feel like you have enough to worry about when it comes to finances without adding money-saving to the equation. For instance, you may have the cost of tuition, textbooks and accommodation, not to mention, in many cases, the stress of racking up student debt.
So, how is it possible to save money for your future when the day-to-day is already so challenging – and expensive?
Believe it or not, it’s doable – and you don’t have to live a life devoid of any enjoyment to achieve it. By drawing up (and sticking to) a budget and researching some solid money-saving tips for students, you can take control of your finances.
How Can I Save Money While Studying?
Saving while in college is hard for a number of reasons:
- Students generally don’t have a high income
- Students often have large tuition bills, not to mention the additional cost of materials and equipment
- Students are often figuring out the nuances of financial independence for the first time
To start saving while studying, the first step is to decide WHY you want to save money. This will help guide you through all the subsequent financial decisions you make.
How Much Should I Save as a Student?
No two situations are alike, and knowing why and how to save money as a student is going to throw out different answers for everyone.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What am I saving for in the short-term? Is it to travel, to buy a new computer, to live within my means – or perhaps a combination of these?
- What am I saving for in the long-term? Perhaps you’d like to move to a different city when you finish studying, pay off your student debt, or buy a house.
- In an ideal world, how much money would I like to have leftover at the end of each month?
Once you’ve answered these questions, draw up a simple budget of your income and expenses on a monthly basis. Be accurate. Don’t cheat yourself.
After you’ve had a look at your current situation, it’s time to start implementing strategies to improve it. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to do this. And the best part? These tips still allow you to enjoy your uni days without making too big a sacrifice.
5 Ways to Save Money as a Student:
1. Take advantage of student discounts
Knowing how to save money as a student has a lot to do with knowing what’s on offer to you. When you start searching, you’ll find student discounts everywhere. Get in the habit of asking for student discounts wherever you go. Look out for:
- Discounted transit fares
- Special deals at fast food outlets (and even some restaurants)
- Reduced entrance fees into museums and galleries
- Cheaper tickets for movies, theatre and music shows
- Student nights at pubs and clubs
- Deals on software and subscriptions
2. Choose your accommodation wisely
While you may be itching to spread your wings, it may be worth considering cheaper accommodation options such as staying at home with parents or living with extended family.
Even if you pay some rent to your parents, chances are your expenses are going to be far lower if you remain in the comfort of your family home. Living on your own, whether in residence or a house or apartment, can be an unnecessary bill that you don’t need to take on.
3. Implement the 30 Day Rule
What is the 30 day rule? If you want to know how to save money as a student, this may just change your financial life!
The 30 Day Rule is all about preventing impulse buying. If you see a luxury item that you feel you simply cannot live without, the 30 Day Rule does not tell you that you can’t have it. Instead, it tells you to wait. Put it down. Write down the item in your journal or on a post-it, along with the date you almost purchased it. Then wait. For 30 Days.
If you still want that item after those 30 days, by all means, go ahead and purchase it — but now, if you do, you’ll know it wasn’t simply an impulse buy.
4. Shop second-hand
Whether for clothes, furniture or textbooks, going second-hand will make a huge difference to your bottom line.
This may mean browsing through thrift stores or going on an online hunt for the books you need. But once you get into the habit of shopping second-hand, you’ll wonder why on earth you didn’t make the switch sooner! (Added bonus: it’s a greener way to live.)
5. As far as possible, steer clear of debt
For some, this may be impossible. Going to university is expensive and a large percentage of the population simply do not have the financial resources to get through it without incurring debt.
With this in mind, try to be kind to your future self by not racking up more debt than you absolutely need to. The best way to do this is to try and stay on top of the money that you owe.
Draw up an accurate budget, and see if there are ways to tackle any existing debt you have. There is also a range of free debt counselling services available. You don’t have to do this alone.
For more advice on how to budget, check out one of these articles:
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