Student Savings Tips and Tricks You Can Use Even after College
by Kaitlyn Ranze | 4 August 2020
College is the first time many young adults manage their own money. It’s when millennials first effed up getting into massive student loan debt, and it’s where GenZ is getting it right.
We’re breaking down some student savings tips you can apply beyond your college years.
Reevaluate where you bank.
Maybe you inherited brand loyalty from your parents, but THEIR banking institution may not suit YOUR needs. Take a look at your bank’s policies. (Bonus if you can bank with an institution that aligns with your values. Check out Mighty Deposits here.)
Many banks waive annoying fees with student checking accounts. Sometimes, they even have reduced overdraft fees.
But you won’t overdraft because you’re going to budget.
Budgets are NOT all about restrictions. They’re not there to stop you from buying guac at Chipotle or the latte during finals or a really tough work week. They’re there to make sure you can keep the lights on at your apartment and take a spring break to make up for missing the one you skipped-because of Covid-19.
Avoid unnecessary loans.
Save for what you can and take advantage of free money. Complete your FAFSA and apply for scholarships and grants. Rinse, wash, repeat those essays and don’t stop applying.
The same is true for your resume.
Don’t fear rejection. Rinse, wash, and repeat. You’re wasting time not making the money you deserve and ASK for your raises.
Don’t hang on to things you don’t need.
Sell back your textbooks and use your library. Many libraries have digital copies; why buy what you can rent for free?
Better yet, adopt minimalism.
Sure it’s trendy but MariKon your clothes and Poshmark the rest. Chances are your style is evolving and if it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t store it.
Your student i.d. is a passport. It opens you to a world of discounts.
They can get you free or reduced transportation, clothing and food discounts – not to mention the heavily discounted computer hardware and software.
Psst! Teachers, nurses, essential workers: use your work ID. The worst a retailer can say is “no”.
If you invest in something, use it.
If you buy a meal plan, use it. I’m not suggesting you pack your backpack with fruits and cereal for later but I’ve seen it be done.
Use your gym membership. While some gyms are offering online classes, others are opening back up. Remember that just like any facet of wellness, a healthy routine can improve your outcomes. I’m looking at you, savings account.
Take advantage of college events on campus and in your community.
Kamryn Elliot, a senior at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg says “Depending on the event, they’re all free. The Carnabull is one of my favorite events since it’s basically carnival rides and food out in the giant parking lot. [Other events include] the movie theater rent-out where we rent out a theater… and watch the latest movie. ”
A bonus in attending, she adds, is that “[Businesses] handout their food or merch to the first few students that come to them. “
I’m not saying join social clubs to enjoy free food, but do what you gotta do.
Learn new skills.
College isn’t just about the results of your finals. Cooking is a life skill and frankly, the most adorable date. (Bonus points if you can make soup on a hot plate and a whole chicken in a toaster oven.)
But acquiring new skills doesn’t have to end in college.
Download DuoLingo, learn Spanish and just do the damn thing.
Don’t Buy Drinks.
If you want to eat out, search for the best happy hours and coupons. I’m not saying a flask is right in every situation, but it’s right for a couple. You know the ones.
Don’t waste your money.
Don’t waste tuition on courses that don’t contribute to your degree. Your advisors are free. Use them to guide your course selection AND if your school has a club that contributes to your professional goals, join it.
Don’t feel compelled to “over-optimize” though. If things are cheap, do them because they’re fun. Who learned to sail and bellydance in college? This girl.
And that shouldn’t end after college.
Exploit your friends for their socially distant surfing and fishing lessons. Find a work mentor and continue your self-improvement journey.
Better yet, turn your hobby into a side hustle…
Gwenyth Stephens is a Humanities and Social Science Student at Onondaga Community College in New York who started selling beeswax raps on Etsy when she found that “Americans use 25 pounds of plastic wrap each year. I [made] about 20 packs of 3 so far… which sold all in a day.”
…or become the entertainment.
Jaspreet Singh of the Minority Mindset, a financial literacy YouTuber, played the drum at weddings and bought his first investment property with the money before even finishing college.
Walk or Cycle.
If you live on campus or within a walk-able community, do you really need your car? Explore alternatives like public transportation and cycling. Aside from improved health, you’ll avoid terrible parking situations and contributing to gas emissions. You’ll also save some coin avoiding the pump and the mechanic.
Whether you’re stuck at home, returning to campus, or even out of college, there’s a million creative ways to cut living expenses without being deprived (yes, even in quarantine). We want to hear how you’re doing it. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what tips we left out!
And remember the nav.it money app offers you free tools for like automated savings, budget tracking, and account aggregation.