With summer break coming to an end, you’ve likely saved up a bit of money from your part-time job or internship. But soon you’ll be heading back to school, which means picking up fewer hours at work, purchasing expensive textbooks, and paying for your own groceries again. However, part of your time at college will also have you learning how to manage money to keep yourself financially secure and stable. You won’t have to watch all of your hard-earned money vanish into thin air if you follow some of these tried-and-true money saving tips.
It’s easy to overspend if you’re not keeping track of where you’re spending it all! Start by writing down every income and expense, no matter how small. Forbes magazine suggests using a free Smartphone app such as Mint or Level to keep track of your spending while on the go. At the end of the month, you’ll be able to see how much those daily coffee runs or Friday nights out are really costing you.
Now that you know how much money you’re earning and spending, create a budget. Be honest with yourself and separate your wants and needs. How much do all of the necessary expenses really cost you? Decide where you can cut back and set spending goals. That might mean going out for dinner less often, or passing up a deal at your favorite clothing store. Experts recommend carrying a weekly cash allowance instead of a debit or credit card. When your cash runs out, you’ll know to wait until the following week to spend money on items you want.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to set up a grown-up piggy bank – a.k.a. a savings account. Start depositing money to your savings account regularly, even if you have to start small. You’ll start a habit of saving and before you know it, all that loose change will add up. Citizens Bank suggests using a savings account that isn’t attached to your debit card so you aren’t tempted to withdraw money on a whim.
Tracking expenses, budgeting, building a savings – now that you’re a money management expert, you can start looking for more opportunities to pinch pennies. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 25 money-saving tips and tricks that you can use for the upcoming semester.
Finally, SUNY offers both current and prospective students a collection of resources that cover a wide spectrum of financial education and planning including budgeting, responsible credit card use, avoiding identify theft, banking basics, borrowing, and working through college. With SUNY Smart Track, students gain a better understanding of college costs and learn to develop a financial plan for the future. Check out Smart Track to access all of the financial literacy tools that are available to you!
Serah was a social media intern in the SUNY Office of New Media, having graduated from the University at Albany with Business Administration degree with concentrations in marketing and finance and minors in economics and communications.