Saving money for college doesn’t happen overnight. These long-term money saving tips will help you avoid taking on huge student loan debt.
Even if you have to apply for a student loan to pay for college tuition and books – the less money you spend during the academic year, the more money you’ll have to either pay off your student loan or enjoy yourself during college breaks.
Before the tips, a quip:
“It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days.” ~ Isabel Waxman.
I loved going to university so much that I got two degrees. Some students love college enough to make a career of being a student (I wish). But even those “professional students” need to watch their money – and that’s when a book like Pay for College Without Sacrificing Your Retirement: A Guide to Your Financial Future is helpful.
And, here are my five money saving tips for college students…
How to Save Money for College – 5 Long-Term Money Saving Tips
1. Find meaning in experiences, not stuff. I know how fun it can be to buy new things – I’m not a shopper, but I’ve experienced that “shopper’s high” when I buy something new! But, I also know that spending money isn’t the only way to feel good. In fact, spending money may one of the least satisfactory ways to be happy because it requires a constant outflow of money. If you’re an emotional spender (you shop to avoid stress or sadness), then you might think about finding meaning in your life without spending money. This won’t just help you save money for college, it’ll help you get emotionally healthy.
2. Pay twice – it teaches you how much money you could save! Here’s a great way to save money for college, from a blog about money from the BHM Financial Group: “Every time you buy a cup of coffee, lunch, or a newspaper, magazine, DVD or other entertainment material, put the same amount of money into an account intended for saving or bill payments,” writes Cassandra in Better Attitude, Bigger Income. “See how much money you’ve saved at the end of the month. Now you know how much money you spent (but could’ve saved) this month. This money saving tip will also show you how much those items really cost, since most of us only take home about one-half what we earn. So, buying that $5 DVD is really costing you $10, that coffee is really about $7.50, and going to the movies? Whoa . . . but, you get the picture.”
3. Activate two college money saving tips a month. There are smart ways to save money for college everywhere – the internet, budget books, your rich old aunt, on placemats at funky restaurants. Don’t try to implement every money tip you find; instead pick two a month. Focus on making those two money tips a habit. In a month or six weeks, find two more money saving tips to work on. This way, you’re not overwhelmed with a million ways to save money – and you’re steadily progressing towards your money goals.
4. Turn price tags into hours worked. This is tip for saving money for college is from the founder of Mint.com: “So you don’t really need another pair of jeans, but you eyed one that costs just $40,” says Aaron Patzer. “Inexpensive, right? That depends on how you think of it, Patzer said. Say you earn $7 an hour at your part-time job (not uncommon for high school or college students who work after school and on the weekends). You’d need to work almost 6 hours to pay for those jeans. If you work 10 hours a week, that’s 60% of your work time. Think of it this way, and that pair of jeans doesn’t look that cheap, after all.” Make it a habit to look at the things you want in terms of how long it takes to earn them.
Have you heard of residual or passive income? Read How to Get Money for School – From Passive Income to Sharper Vision.
5. Save money for college faster by factoring in your personality traits. Pay attention to your likes and dislikes, characteristics, and lifestyle. What’s your money personality – what are your money beliefs? Are you a saver or a spender? Do you associate with people who have good financial habits, or are you always on a spending spree with friends? To save money for college, you need to “ride the horse in the direction its going” – which means not trying to change who you are. Instead find ways to fit those money saving tips into your life.
For more ways to save money for college, read Money and the Law of Attraction – 4 Ways to Attract Wealth.