Quick tips to keeping some money in your wallet
Being a student isn’t easy on your bank account. Whether you are in college, vocational school, or career training school, you probably know what it feels like to be broke. Most students have to live on limited budgets during their school years. They have to learn what it means to pinch pennies. If this sounds like your life, then try these suggestions to help stretch out your precious dollars.
1. The 2-minute rule for small purchases
Small purchases such as vending machine snacks, coffee drinks, and fast food can add up over the course of time. When you are about to make a small purchase, use the 2-minute rule. Wait for 2 minutes before purchasing it. Use this time to consider whether you really need it, or whether you could go without it.
2. The 48-hour rule for large purchases
For any large purchases you may be making, be sure to wait at least 48 hours to think it over. You may even want to wait longer, or spend a week researching whether you can get a better deal. If the item is not returnable, you should spend extra time considering whether you truly need the item.
3. Be smarter about FAFSA
According to the Federal Student Aid website, financial aid is typically awarded in the order in which the forms are submitted. So be sure to file your FAFSA early each year! If you are a dependent, you can also look into ways that your parents can transfer their assets into nonreportable categories, which could potentially result in receiving more financial aid.
3. Use coupons and wait for sales
Most purchases don’t need to be made right away. Instead of buying something impulsively, look for coupons or wait for the item to go on sale. You can also look for the item on Ebay or Craigslist, or keep your eyes open for bargains at thrift stores and flea markets.
4. Break your unhealthy habits
If you smoke, vape, or drink alcohol, you are spending money that could be saved. Cutting back on your vices can save you money and improve your health. It’s a win-win!
5. Try a debit card instead of credit card
Getting into credit card debt is a trap that many students fall into. Credit cards allow you to spend more than you own. If you don’t pay off your balance, you will be charged interest, and the more often you do this, the deeper in debt you get. Try to avoid this pitfall by using a debit card instead of a credit card. Debit cards are like cash. You can only spend as much money as your debit card contains.
We hope these five tips get you started on saving money. For more information on saving money as a student, try the U.S. Department of Education’s tools for creating a personal budget. The tools help you keep track of your expenses and evaluate where you need to cut back.
Remember, your education is an investment in your future. Once you get through your program and begin working, you won’t have to be as frugal. But for now, it’s worth saving every penny you can!
The American College for Medical Careers (ACMC) offers practical advice on student life, healthy choices, and career development in its weekly blog. Check us out every week!