Attention, college freshmen: If your financial plans include asking for money from The Bank of Mom and Dad, think again. With these tips, you can save some cash for a rainy day, and even attain savings goals for the future.
Find A Job
You need money for living expenses, incidentals and books. What’s a college student to do? Consider taking a look at job listings on campus to earn some extra cash; potential on-campus jobs include leading campus tours or working in the library. If you’d rather look off-campus for jobs, consider looking into retail, serving tables, babysitting, working in an office, dog walking or tutoring. The job does not have to be demanding of your time, and you may be able to use it as valuable work experience, too. In addition, Forbes has a list of jobs that college students can consider. Regardless of the job you take, you’ll need to ensure your coursework takes priority over your work schedule.
Save For The Future With Subaccounts
It may feel that making and then reaching savings goals on a college student’s budget is an impossible task, but with targeted subaccounts, you can slowly save for the future. Every time you make a deposit, allocate a portion specifically for studying abroad in a year or two, a summer-long road trip with friends, or even for a deposit on your first apartment after college graduation. TIME recommends naming your subaccounts so you can be reminded of your long-term goals with every deposit you make.
Build An Emergency Fund
You may have budgeted for books, clothes and transportation to get home for break, but what will you do if your books cost more than expected or if you have a medical emergency? That’s where an emergency fund comes in. Set aside some cash from your job, then sock it away in a checking or savings account that you can access. To get started on creating your emergency fund, take a look at this step-by-step guide by the blog The Simple Dollar. You should also have clearly defined ideas of what constitutes as a true financial emergency. Paying for a bus ride home due to a family emergency is a reason for a withdrawal from your emergency fund, but tickets to a concert are not.
Apply For Scholarships
Keep looking for scholarships to help fund your education. Your college’s financial aid office can help you get started in finding scholarships and grants specific to the institution, and perhaps even your major. Look online for scholarships, too, starting with Sallie Mae Bank’s website. The website also offers advice on how your scholarships may affect your financial aid package.
Leave The Car At Home
Sure, having a car at your disposal while living on campus can give you the freedom to run errands and maybe do some road trips. But if you plan to live and work on campus, you might be better off saving some money by leaving your car parked in mom and dad’s driveway. Having a car on campus might mean coughing up for expenses that include regular maintenance and paying for a parking sticker — and let’s not even get into the hidden cost of becoming the personal chauffeur for your friends. To get around town, see if your college offers public transportation. Other options include using a bicycle or inline skates so you can get to class on time. Just don’t forget a good helmet too! Keep in mind you’ll need to budget money so you can pay for a plane, train or car ride home.
Buy Your Own Groceries
There’s a beauty in the convenience of rolling out of bed and walking to your school’s cafeteria for breakfast when you purchase a meal plan. If you want to save some money, though, consider ditching the meal plan or only purchasing the least expensive plan available and buying your own food at a grocery store. Here’s the advantage: You can make meals just the way you like them. However, you’ll need a secure place to store your food and any cooking equipment.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.