Saving money in college is no longer a lost art, editorial by Sarah Rothstein

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It is an undeniable fact that life is expensive. The costs of food, housing, living expenses, medical bills, and transportation fees all add up to one hefty bill and a stress headache. However, there are steps college students can take to save money while balancing classes, sports, social commitments, and other life demands.

College students seeking to save money should first be aware of the amount of money spent weekly and what that money is being spent on. The CNBC article “7 Ways to Spend Money in College” encourages students to save receipts in order to track how funds are allocated and determine how much money is spent. By doing so, the student becomes more mindful and conscientious about how their money is spent.

From this information, a student can create a weekly budget which provides an adequate amount of money allotted for gas, food, entertainment, and other expenses. Budgeting money and deciding how it is best spent will prevent students from spending too much on unnecessary purchases and allow them to save for their future.

In addition to a weekly budget, students should also limit credit card usage. Many students report that it is harder to track/record how much is spent when using a credit card compared to cash. If students are more inclined to use a credit card, the CNBC article advises students to “make it a habit that anytime you use plastic for a discretionary expense, save the same amount in a savings account.” This can help prevent excessive credit card spending and teach college students to be mindful of spending habits. Students working a part or full-time job can also deposit a percentage of their paycheck into a savings account.

For example, I worked two part-time jobs during the semester and deposited 15 percent of each paycheck into a savings account. Then, during the summer, when working full-time, I deposited 20-25 percent of my paycheck into a savings account. This helped me to save money while still having enough money for daily life expenses.

College students can also work together to save money. For example, students can carpool to save money on transportation/parking fees. Rocky students living close to campus can also take advantage of the bike lanes that provide a safe alternative to driving to campus. Riding a bike to class allows students to pocket money that would otherwise be spent on gas, insurance, car maintenance, and parking fees.

Students can also buy food in bulk, from places such as at Costco or Wal-Mart, and split the expense between roommates. Students in the same major or field of study can save money by swapping textbooks at the end of the semester. In addition, students taking the same class can also share textbooks when applicable or borrow them from the school or public library. Selling books online or renting/buying used books will also save college students hundreds of dollars each semester. Remember, one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure!

College is expensive and life provides challenges which force students to spend more money than they would like. However, there are several strategies that Rocky students can implement in order to save money and better prepare themselves financially for the future. The first step is determining how much money is spent and what the money is spent on. From this information, college students can create weekly budgets for food, travel, and entertainment purposes. After a few weeks, sticking to a budget will become second nature. Other helpful money saving tips include carpooling, using pedal power, limiting credit card usage, depositing money into a savings account, buying food in bulk, and sharing/buying used textbooks. By implementing these strategies, the long lost art of saving money in college can be restored.

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