Hello there internet friends!
Judy Copenbarger here to give you the insider advice on how to save money if you’re a student or will soon be one. And yes, this means even those of you that may not even have enough money for a bus ticket to get back home for the summer!
It may sound ludicrous to you that I may even suggest the idea of saving money on a student’s budget. But just give me two minutes and I’ll tell you the truth about school and saving.
First and foremost, school will drain your pockets dry if you don’t actually keep track of your finances, especially with all the crazy scheduling you have to deal with.
Therefore, these important tips, if fused into a daily routine can help you stay above water and swimming pretty. So first, and the most important on the list, is to…
Make A Spreadsheet
Simply make note of the following:
- Income from student loans
- Scholarships and Grants
- Any monthly stipend from your parents
- Any part-time jobs you may have that can count towards income
- Expenses from outings
- Phone Bill
- Mobile phone and other devices
- Any subscription services
- Recurring miscellaneous expenses
Once you actually see everything in front of you, it will be a lot easier to see how much you have available to spend each month. And this will give you a good rough idea of where you will be in your balance and not enter into that dreaded overdrawn bank account status.
Now, this brings us to our second to do on this school saving list.
Download your banking app and turn on balance notifications
I suggest a minimum of 150 to 200 dollars for notifications to trigger your alert.
This allows enough for emergencies and also gives you instant access to check your banking balance and not leave it up to the unscrupulous banks to take advantage of you for potentially over-drafting just because you purchased one too many macchiatos, because honestly, no one wants to spend $50 for frozen coffee.
We discuss this in another article on how the banks really make money, so please don’t let them do this to you.
And third on the list of student saving necessities is…
Be smart with food and groceries
You’re probably wondering, well, food costs just the price that it costs but, in reality, there’s a hidden secret that most weekly grocery shoppers don’t really pay attention to.
It can save you as much as 30% or more if you just shop using this particular method.
And also, the thing with food budgeting is that eating out with friends is part of what we want to do and we deserve for that to be part of our life from time to time but at that dreaded time when the check comes and you have to calculate your part of the check, it’s always a big frustration.
Honestly, there’s always that friend that picks up more of the bill than the other dinner buddies and overall it can be a potentially awkward social scenario. So when you go out to eat and you just want to make it easy and be done with it here’s your tip: If the math is off and someone’s always picking up the slack make sure that’s not you!
And just as you start the order make sure that you take a quick moment to separate the checks as most modern-day restaurants can easily do that for you. It’s quicker, it’s painless, and overall it will enable you as a student to save money on a tight budget.
Fourth on our list is…
Buy your books used
Of course, if you don’t already know this, places like Craigslist, Offer Up, and even Facebook Marketplace groups are great solutions to pick up way overpriced books for half the price they sell for new at your local school bookstore.
It’s sad how some of these books are hundreds of dollars for one-time use. Use the above tools and beat the system for as many classes as you can.
Fifth on our list of tips is…
Ask about student discounts
Yes, sounds crazy, but sometimes you just have to ask. Most of the time restaurants, clothing shops, movie theaters, general stores, and even coffee shops offer a student-only discount with student ID that’s not advertised or even posted.
So don’t let that extra 10 to 20% pass you up because you didn’t know. It honestly never hurts to ask, just remember to try to have your student ID on you at all times so you aren’t caught short when you do win that discount.
And finally, and I’d say maybe one of the most important tips, is…
Properly file your end of year taxes
There are so many students that just haphazardly file taxes like it’s no big deal, however, did you know it’s a pretty big deal if you overpay Uncle Sam for no good reason or don’t take proper deductions because you either didn’t know or you don’t use an accountant or professional tax preparer?
I mean, I get it, but that Turbo Tax is easy! It’s not there for you just to save money. It’s easy and it’s cheap but can wind up costing you much more money by overpaying taxes.
Related article: The Basics of Federal Income Tax
Alright, so that’s the most important to do’s if you want to know how to save money and are a college student.
It honestly doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or going for your doctorate because money matters not only during school but even after you graduate.
If you let the system take advantage of you then it will but now you have the secret weapon of knowledge to fight the potential debt monster that doesn’t have to rear its ugly head. My name is Judy Copenbarger and if this article has helped you then please take a moment to share it with a friend or family member.
Until next time, be well my friends and God bless!
Judy Copenbarger is the Founder and President of Comprehensive Financial Services, based in Irvine, California.
She holds a Juris Doctor Degree, with a Taxation Emphasis, is FINRA Registered and maintains various Securities and Insurance Designations. Her professional expertise is in Estate Planning, Retirement and Education Planning.