Saving and Budgeting Tips for College Freshmen

By now, most college freshmen have made it nearly halfway through their semesters. You’ve experienced orientation, scoped out the best dining hall food, and maybe even pulled an all-nighter studying or writing an essay you should’ve started weeks ago. While we hope that you’ve successfully navigated college life, it never hurts to have a healthy reminder about saving and budgeting for the remainder of your college career.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that college can be expensive, and that you’ve heard all about scholarships and financial aid. But what about how to save during college? Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the the year without suffering the “broke college student” stigma.

Making Money

Best way to save money is to make money, right? There are numerous opportunities to get a job in college. Utilize your college’s career services for resume, cover letter, and interview help, and check out its job board frequently for opportunities. You may be able to get a job right on campus!

If working part time as a full time student sounds a bit daunting, there are other ways to make money that might fit better with your schedule. Utilize your other talents and skills and start a side hustle! If you’re a graphic designer or photographer, take on a few extra projects when you have time. Excel in a certain subject? Offer to tutor other students or edit their papers. Just be careful and stay clear of plagiarism! Use your skills to not only make cash, but can be used as resume builders as well.

Saving Money

Something that every financially responsible person should have are a checkings and savings account. When looking for banks, pick one that is nearby your campus so that you don’t have to succumb to expensive ATM fees.

Once you’ve decided on a bank or two, ask about any policies or fees they may have. Most banks offer accounts specifically for college students, but they typically come with certain requirements. Some may require a minimum deposit, so make sure you have the money to avoid being charged.

It’s also advised to avoid credit cards for the time being. That is one of the quickest ways to accumulate debt. If a credit card is something you’re looking into, browse the cards that allow you to earn redeemable points. Just be sure to pay off the card every period to avoid interest fees.

Shopping Smarter

As much as we may not want to, it’s important to monitor our spending habits and subsequently make some changes. For example, although it’s prime Pumpkin Spice Latte season, those $5 delicious drinks (at minimum) can really start to add up if you treat yourself too much. If you feel like your spending is getting out of hand, or just want to have an easy way to monitor it, Digit is a resourceful app that analyzes your spending habits and tucks away a few dollars here and there when it feels like you won’t miss it. Before you know it, you’ll have a rainy day savings fund! You can also set up other savings accounts within the app for specific things (like your spring break travel fund)!

Being a student also has its perks. Use your Student ID and ask for student discounts whenever you’re shopping. You can save anywhere from 5%-20% on average! Sites like UNiDAYS offer student discounts on numerous stores and you can also take advantage of money saving apps like Cently or Ebates.

Saving and making money at any stage of life can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Utilize the resources around you and be smart and aware of the things you frequently spend on. For a more detailed look in how to save before and during college, check out this helpful guide to college savings.

CouponFollow tracks coupon codes shared across the Web, Facebook, and Twitter in real-time.
Its free browser extension, Cently, makes saving money a breeze; the extension automatically displays a list of all the store’s coupon codes whenever you checkout.


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