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9 Finance Tips all College Students Need to Start Practicing TODAY!

financial tips for college students

The average American has about $38,000 in personal debt. That’s credit card bills, car loans, and student loans all stacking up over time. 

Don’t start your adult life with debt weighing you down! Instead, start getting real-world saving and spending experience while you’re in college. With these financial tips for college students, you can start making smart decisions before you graduate.

Otherwise, you might spend the first decade of your life as a graduate trying to dig your way out of debt. 

Start making smarter financial decisions with these money tips for college students today.

1. Keep Track

Before you can use these financial tips for college students, you need to take stock of your spending. How much is going in (and out) each month?

Gather all of your paycheck stubs, bills, bank statements, and receipts. Then, create a spreadsheet and split your monthly spending habits into categories. These categories can include:

  • Food/groceries
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • School supplies
  • Rent

Once you recognize how much you’re spending in each category, you can make an informed budget. 

2. Create a Budget

Now that you know where all of your money is going, set a goal for yourself. How much money do you want to save each month? 

In order to save money, you need to keep your spending in check. Once you have an overall budget, split that budget based on your categories. For example, you’ll likely want to spend a lot less on entertainment than on rent. 

Categorizing your budget will help you control your spending habits.

You can also use your budget to accomplish long-term goals. For example, let’s say you need to save enough for tuition next semester. You can reduce your spending even more to save more for your tuition.

Setting a budget will help you accomplish your monthly and long-term financial goals. 

3. Make a Plan

Once you fall into debt, it can feel stressful to dig your way out. Meanwhile, you still have regular expenses to take care of each month. 

In order to tackle your debt, you’re going to need a plan.

First, determine which debts you need to pay off the fastest. Student loans reach an average of $50,626 throughout the country. 

It’s unlikely you’ll pay off your debts in a single day or even month. Learning how to reduce your debt little by little can help keep it from becoming overwhelming. For starters, focus on your high-interest debts first.

Make sure to look at your expenses to determine where you can cut costs, too. Then, you can use the money you’re spending to pay off your debts.

4. Lower Taxes

While you’re exploring money tips for college students, don’t forget to think ahead. April 15 always comes sooner than we’d like. Learning how to reduce your taxes can help you add more money to your account each year.

First, determine your filing status. Are you a parent? Make sure to check the rules for claiming dependents so you can use the child tax credit, too. 

Many people make the mistake of overspending on taxes every year. As a college student, you likely don’t have a lot of experience. Consider speaking with a financial advisor to learn more ways you can lower your taxes each year.

5. Start Investing

It’s never too early to start investing! If you’re unfamiliar with investments, consider using a smartphone app like Acorns or Stash. Acorns will automatically round your purchases up to the nearest dollar.

That spare change can go straight toward a micro-investment or IRA.

Once you set the app up, it will run on its own, allowing you to make money without lifting a finger!

6. Plan for Rainy Days

About 65% of Americans aren’t saving money. Those who are saving, however, aren’t saving nearly enough.

In fact, almost 60% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. If an emergency drains your account, how do you plan on paying for rent and food?

You need to plan for those rainy days!

Start by opening a savings account if you haven’t already. Then, start a savings challenge. For example, you can challenge yourself to save $1 during the first week.

Then, you’ll save $2 the second week and so on. By week 52, you’ll have $1,378 in savings!

7. Get Cooking

Don’t eat away your money. Instead, use these financial tips for college students to cook up savings.

Look at home much you’re allotted to groceries each month. You can stretch that budget by creating a shopping list before you go to the groceries. Then, stick to the list.

Don’t allow yourself to make any impulse buys.

Otherwise, head online for specials, coupons, and other ways you can save. You can also cut costs by planning ahead. Create a menu for the week that utilizes the same ingredients in different ways.

That way, you don’t waste food and can keep yourself from eating out.

8. Cancel Subscriptions

How many different subscriptions are you wasting money on each month? There’s Hello Fresh, Birchbox, Hulu, Netflix, and many others. Take a look at your list of subscriptions.

Then, cut out the ones you use the least.

Make sure to opt-out of the “auto-renew” option. Each time it’s time to renew your subscription, think it over. Are you really using it?

If not, start putting that money into your savings account instead. 

9. Get Savvy

As you explore different money tips for college students, stay savvy! Use your head and become a savvy spender.

For example, you can start buying generic. Brand names usually cost more than their worth. Instead, buy the makeup, staple food items, paper products, and cleaning supplies you need from generic brands. You can even switch to generic medications, too. 

Are you buying full-priced textbooks you’ll only use for a semester? Consider renting textbooks instead. Otherwise, sell the ones that are taking up space on your shelf. 

Next, look for ways you can save money at home. Reduce energy costs by taking shorter showers and switching to lightbulbs.

Can you sew? Fix your clothes instead of buying new ones!

These tips can help you save little by little over time.  

Save Before You Spend: 9 Financial Tips for College Students

Start saving! With these nine financial tips for college students, you can avoid debt and build a financial nest egg. Make smarter financial decisions with these tips today.

Become a savvy spender! Save up to 95% on textbooks today!

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.