Saving Money in College

It’s not just for rainy days. Save early and often.

The key to financial success is really pretty simple – spend less, make more, and save for the future. If you’re a student who thinks you’re too young to save, think again. The sooner you start saving – and investing your savings – the more interest or earnings you could potentially make. Here are a few tips to make the most of your money:

Start with the big costs: tuition, room, and board.

  • Be sure you have searched every possible source for scholarships and grants. 
  • Make the most of the tuition you're paying. Are you taking a full load? Challenging classes that will pay off in the future? Learn all you can - don't take the easy route. 
  •  If you have a meal plan, use it! You're paying a lot of money for that privilege. And if you're not using it, see if you can reduce your plan or cancel it. 

Everyday costs don't have to cost so much.

  • See how much your bank is charging you. As a student, you may qualify for options like free checking and online banking. 
  • Use ATMs that don't charge a fee. Walking an extra block or two could save you a lot of cash. 
  • Cut take-out in half by splitting a meal - and the costs - with a friend. 
  • Cut coupons! And seek out grocery stores that offer double or triple coupons. 
  • Shop around for cell phone deals. You could save hundreds throughout your years in school. 
  • If you frequently go out to entertainment spots, consider inviting your friends over for a “movie night” at home instead. 
  • Walk or bike instead of drive. Gas is expensive, and so is the wear and tear on your car. The exercise will do you good.
  •  If you're tired of your clothes, consider clothes-swapping. You probably have a friend who's tired of his or her wardrobe, too.

 Do something free!

  • Go to the library instead of the bookstore. The books are free, and you won't be tempted to buy a latte, either.
  •  Shop for free events. Check your local paper, entertainment venues, or bulletin boards for the latest news. 

Use financial common sense. 

  • Watch for sales. But don't buy something you don't need, just because it's on sale. 
  • Don't shop for fun. Shop with a list of must-haves, and don't stray from it. 
  • Keep a list of everything you spend. Review it after one week, and see where your money has been going. 
  • Don't use a credit card when you could use cash. And never lend your card to a friend. 
  • WORK! You should not jeopardize your grades by devoting too much time to a job, but holidays, breaks, weekends, and evenings are a great time to earn money. Some places have benefits like employee discounts and even tuition support. 

Make your savings work for you.

  • Put your savings into an interest-bearing savings account, a money market account or a CD. You could also invest it in a mutual fund, a stock, a bond, you name it. Talk to a financial advisor or banker about some of your options. Even putting away $1 a day can add up.
  •  If you're in your 20s, now's the time to start saving for retirement. Because the more you put away now, the harder your money can work for you by earning interest. It can be tough finding the money to save, but take a look at what a little bit every day can add up to over the years.

 This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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Union Federal is a federally registered trademark of Cognition Financial Corporation used by SunTrust Bank under license. The Union Federal Private Student Loan is funded by SunTrust Bank and is not offered in connection with any other lender or the federal government. Cognition Financial Corporation is not an affiliate of SunTrust Bank.

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