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Saving Tips for Students

saving tips for students

As a college student, managing your finances might seem like a daunting task, especially when faced with limited resources and countless expenses. But fear not! With the right budgeting strategies and a little discipline, you can navigate your way through your college years while saving money and staying financially secure. Check out our savings tips for students to learn about making a budget and saving money with a variety of budgeting strategies. 

Creating a budget is the first step towards financial stability. It’s crucial to understand your income and expenses to effectively manage your money. Here are some steps to help you make a budget:

Track Your Expenses: Start by listing all your monthly expenses, including rent, groceries, transportation, and entertainment, as well as tuition fees, if you are paying them out of pocket while still in college. 

Determine Your Income: Calculate your total income from sources such as part-time jobs, scholarships, grants, or allowances from parents. 

Differentiate Between Needs and Wants: Differentiate between essential expenses (needs) and discretionary spending (wants). Prioritize your needs and allocate funds accordingly. 

Set Realistic Goals: Determine your short-term and long-term financial goals, such as saving for textbooks, paying off student loans, or building an emergency fund. 

Review and Adjust: Regularly review your budget to track your spending and make adjustments as needed. Be flexible and willing to cut back on non-essential expenses if necessary. 

Use a Budget Calculator: If you are a Service Credit Union member, you can track your spending and set a budget right inside of Service CU online banking by using our Money Management tool. Prefer to manually write things out? Check out this budgeting worksheet.  

saving tips for students

This popular budgeting rule suggests allocating 50% of your income to needs (rent, groceries, utilities), 30% to wants (entertainment, dining out), and 20% to savings and debt repayment. Adjust these percentages according to your individual circumstances.

Save on Textbooks: Textbooks can be expensive, but there are ways to save money. Consider buying used textbooks, renting them, or exploring digital alternatives. Websites such as Chegg or Amazon often offer cheaper options compared to campus bookstores. 

Cut Food Costs: Eating out frequently can drain your budget. If you’re not on a campus meal plan, opt for cooking at home and preparing meals in bulk. Look for student discounts at grocery stores and plan meals in advance. Keep an eye out for events that offer free food, which happen quite frequently on college campuses!  

Start an Emergency Fund: Unexpected expenses can arise at any time, so it’s essential to have an emergency fund. Aim to save a portion of your income each month, even if it’s a small amount, and put it into a high-yield savings account. Over time, it will add up and provide a financial safety net. 

Take Advantage of Student Discounts: Many venues offer student discounts, including restaurants, retail shops, museums, movie theaters, and much more. When you go out somewhere with your friends or by yourself, be sure to ask if they offer a student discount before paying. You’ll be surprised to find that a lot of places you visit do, and it’s an easy way to save yourself some cash. Usually, all you’ll need to do to receive the discount is to show them your student ID, so if you’re going out be sure to keep it on you.  

Pick Up Extra Shifts – Or Start Your Own Business:  If you’re working a part-time job while going to school, a great way to help build up your savings is by picking up extra shifts when you have free time. Once a semester is off and running, students tend to get into a routine and find places in the week when they have a lot of downtime. If you find yourself with a few hours periodically open on certain days, see if you can pick up an extra shift at work during that time. Even if you only have two to three hours, adding that to your schedule every week can help you pad that savings account. 

Picking up extra shifts is great, but sometimes you aren’t able to work short shifts or there isn’t one available for you to pick up. With that being said, starting your own business will allow you to make some extra cash whenever you have the time, giving you complete flexibility with your hours. 

If you’re well-versed in a particular subject, you could tutor others. If you’re a writer, you could do freelance editing. If you’re artistic and crafty, you could start a business designing T-shirts, hats, and other merchandise. If you’re a photographer, you might want to advertise photo shoots for students or events. There is an unlimited range of things you can do with your own business, so whatever it is that you are passionate about can be turned into a way for you to put some extra money in the bank. 

If you don’t already have a checking account, make sure to open one in addition to your savings account. Look for a credit union or bank that offers checking with no minimum balances and no monthly maintenance fees. These are beneficial for students because you don’t have to stress about your balance getting low and having to pull money from your savings.  

At Service Credit Union, our free checking account offers all these benefits and more, including access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs!  

Visa Everyday Starter Card

Your college years are also a good time to start thinking about building credit. If you have no previous credit history, check out the Service CU Visa Everyday Starter Card, which has no annual fee and a limit of $1,000.  By making regular monthly payments on this card, you’ll start to grow your credit score and increase your future lending options.   

Worried about your student loans? Service CU has partnered with CU Student Choice to offer loans to meet the unique financial needs of students. These loans provide competitive rates, flexible repayment options, and resources to help students achieve their educational goals without breaking the bank. 

By creating a budget, prioritizing your expenses, and saving wherever possible, you can set yourself up for financial success both during your college years and beyond. Remember, it’s never too early to start building good financial habits! 

Looking for more financial wellness resources? Check out one of our free upcoming financial wellness webinars!