“Want to order pizza?” “Is there a cover charge at the bar tonight?” “Retail therapy later?” “This chem book costs what?”
Yup, college life is expensive. From tuition to textbooks, money seems to disappear into thin air. For many who aren’t adding to their bank accounts with an on or off campus job, their financial concerns are more focused on their weekend funds than the financial challenges looming after we graduate. Never have I wanted a money tree to start growing outside my dorm room window so badly.
The Root of the Problem
Millennials are 52% more likely than other generations to impulse buy simply because we like to pamper ourselves. I mean, how could I not want a reward when I finally finished my 27 page paper titled “Why Bad Times in America are Good Times for Broadcasters: A Look into United States History”?
Nonetheless, maybe we sometimes take it too far, what with all of the late-night food deliveries, shopping trips downtown or heading to the bar for drinks. When the local late-night delivery place friended me on Facebook, I knew it was time to cut back, not only to save some cash but maybe also my figure. How can we stop spending, start saving and keep having fun?
1. Open a Savings Account
Go out and open a savings account today. ImpulseSave’s savings accounts not only fit all of the criteria listed below but also have the added bonus of immediate savings. For those of us who aren’t Business majors, exploring different banks and navigating the financial waters can be confusing. Here are some clear and helpful guidelines - NEVER open a savings account that has any of the following:
- Minimum Balance Fees
- Withdrawal Fees
- Interest rates under 0.04% APY
2. Get Tech Savvy
People call us the digital natives (my grandparents call me whenever they need to open a word document), so let’s get crackin! Look into the option of buying textbooks online at sites like Amazon, which also has an e-book renting system for your tablet. Find apps like the ImpulseSave app that help you save wherever you are and pay attention to sites like Groupon and Living Social for deals and steals.
3. Sell Back Your Books
Textbooks are an understandable expense; we need them to pass our classes (even if we tend to only skim them). Sell your books back, but be sure to find the best option for you. Oftentimes the bookstore doesn’t have the best deals (a quarter for a $7 book? Sweet!) so look into other buyback companies or into selling your books off of Amazon. Regardless of what you get, save it, whether it’s for next year’s textbooks or just to stash.
4. Use Your Student Discount
Can’t give up those Saturday afternoon shopping trips (and really, who can..)? When shopping, always ask if there’s a student discount. The worst that can happen is they say no but if they say yes, you could score in a major way. Club Monaco has a 20% discount if you show your student ID! J.Crew & Madewell’s is 15%.
5. Start a Budget
I know, budgeting is a big word. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, budgeting was something my parents did while I floated through life carefree and happy as a clam. This strategy didn’t always work out though. So I sat down, determined to figure out what I had to work with and how my necessities could fit into that, which covered everything from textbooks to tailgates.
Life in college is fantastic and honestly, the thought of leaving it actually makes me want to cry. I’ve had the best times, met the most amazing people and learned from great professors. For me, the real world holds a lot of worries. So, why not start establishing healthy habits in the financial aspect of my life and (semi) eliminate one of those worries? It may just make the real world a bit less scary, and well, maybe a bit more fun!