By Nia Jaramillo
Pulse Staff Reporter
Although budgeting and managing money as a student can be difficult, it is possible. These helpful tips will help you manage your money this semester and make the phrase “broke college student” a myth:
- Open a savings account – A savings account is a secure place where you can store your money and gradually build your funds. Also, compound interest is in your favor when saving money. According to Gary Foreman of U.S. News, compound interest can turn $5 into $600 in just 10 years.
- Save a portion of each check – Whether it’s $25 or $55, saving a portion of every check adds to your savings without leaving you broke.
- Prioritize – What do you really need more, a $20 shirt or $20 of gas in your car? Prioritizing spending prevents impulse purchases while saving your money for the items you really need.
- Pack a lunch – While school food and vending machines are very convenient, packing a lunch will keep you from constantly unpacking your wallet.
- Coupon – “A coupon a day keeps a full wallet safe,” especially for students who have children. Couponing can help you stock up on essentials and school supplies and give you more for your dollar.
Samantha Salazar, a financial education instructor from Generations Federal Credit Union, said that students struggle the most with controlling their spending. She explained the importance of having S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. A relevant goal can be the most difficult for young students. For example, it is relevant to have a cell phone, but it is not necessarily relevant to have a new device every time Apple updates its products.
Denise Mujica, a freshman Kinesiology major, said, “I think it’s important to save money because you never know what is going to happen. We’re growing up. We need to pay things. We need to buy a car and establish our credit.”
Sometimes sacrifices need to be made when saving money. This list of things can be sacrificed so students may invest their money elsewhere:
- Eating out- Restaurants can become very pricey, especially if you eat out often throughout the week. If you are someone who eats out 3-5 times a week, try reducing it to 1-2 times a week. On the other days, cook a meal at home.
- Cable- Prices on cable T.V. can get expensive. A lot of what is on cable can be found on Netflix, YouTube or online for free. Cut the cord on cable and use those funds for something more significant, like a vacation!
- Bad Habits- Bad habits, such as smoking and drinking, are expensive. Cutting them out of your life will be better for your health and your wallet.
Carlos Juarez, a freshman Kinesiology major, said, “I manage my money very well… I put it in a savings account that I have at Security Service. I try to save half of what money I get.”
The best time to start saving is today. The sooner you begin to save, the more you will benefit in the future.