College students are notoriously bad and dissuaded from being diligent with their finances; it’s not easy and it doesn’t make us happy. Yet here you are realizing your already-impaired attention span has once again been redirected to another one of those self-help/self-betterment posts peddled out by another student organization, and I empathize with you. With every other article that you’re presented on campus you're seemingly overwhelmed with a tsunami of jadedness. However, if I mention that 51% of college students report that they are “just barely getting by” in terms of their personal finances, then statistically if the person next to you isn't struggling then chances are that it's you.
Personal finance is often about the long term, and in the sheltered environment of college, the farthest goal in the future is getting a job in a few years – anything beyond that is pretty hazy for almost everyone. There are however a few tricks that you can begin implementing daily to being getting a head start without the arduousness of the other more aggressive penny pinching methods you may have been taught in the past.
Keep some spare cash in the bank
If you aren't already, put your stipend into a savings account. It isn't uncommon to get around a 4.5% APY meaning that if you put $2000 into an account, you can earn a little under $15 over the course of two months. It only takes a few seconds to pull it out whenever you need the money. Also keep in mind that although $15 is probably negligible and not worth creating a savings account over, that $15 is only from 2 months off $2000. Placing more into that account and keeping it longer will yield much more attractive interest payments.
Want to see just how much? Come visit the Personal Money Management Center in room 317 in the Union where walk-ins are always welcome.
Start pooling your loose change
If you have the level of financial self-control equatable in any way to 50 Cent, you're best off saving yourself... from yourself. 58% of students report that they do not save money every month and those who have an income, 30% say they save exactly $0 each month. It's a well-known fact that change and low denomination bills are easy to spend on small meaningless purchases. If you empty out your pockets at the end of the day and pool your savings, soon you’ll see that cash pile aggregate. Your attention probably has not been piqued with any of this so let's break it down into something relatable. Spending a seemingly negligible amount less per day has largely amplified results. For reference let's use that $3 soda you got with lunch today. If you omit that $3 expense every day for a year, at the end you will have a nice cash pile worth $1,095. Bring lunch from home and save $8 a day? That’s $2,920 in your pocket and a thank you letter from weightwatchers.
Want more info on saving? The Personal Money Management Center has all the information and tools to help you with your goals and needs.