Let’s face it: retirement is a long way away. Before you get there, you’ll pass a lot of exciting— and frankly, expensive—milestones. There’s buying your first house, a car, vacations, further education, not to mention the myriad receipts, physical and metaphorical, that result from a life well-lived. If you’re heavy-breathing into a paper bag right now, I apologize.
Rest assured that countless others have been in your shoes but have still managed to plan, spend, and save for a full life for themselves and their family. The key is in the planning stages before those future big ticket items become present expenses. We’ve rounded up a few tips that will help you begin building that nest egg for the future even while you’re still in school.
Follow these tips to get started:
Avoid debt like the plague.
Getting into a cycle of debt is one of the worst things you can do for your future. While it’s not impossible to get out of, it just makes it that much harder for yourself down the road. If you can find ways to cut back and stick to your budget now, you can begin saving a lot sooner than waiting until all of your loans and credit cards are paid off. Another advantage of avoiding debt? A good credit score. Credit cards are risky for students, but it’s imperative to establish a long line of credit early on that will help build up your score—which is necessary for things like buying a house or applying for a business loan in the future. So figure out your budget and stick to it so that you can pay off any credit card charges as soon as they come in.
Develop smart money-saving habits early on.
Whether you want more money to save for the future or more to spend this weekend, the way to do either is to understand your current spending patterns and habits. To start, try checking in on your spending weekly rather than monthly. That way, if you overspend one week, you know you’ll have to live a little bit leaner the next. It will be a lot easier than trying to catch up after a whole month of overspending (ahem, looking at you, holidays). Other smart money-saving habits include renting used textbooks (or checking out books for school from your local library), making a meal plan for the week so you only buy the groceries you need, and making your own coffee at home instead of buying it everyday. Making the best use of every dollar you spend now will help ensure you have a lot more of them by the time you graduate!
Use your student status to your advantage.
The student discounts will be sorely missed the second you graduate, so take advantage of this helpful perk while you can. Many banks offer fee-free checking and savings accounts for students, along with no minimums. This is an excellent way to establish and build a savings account from scratch without being penalized for having too-little funds in there when you’re just starting out (after all, few things are more discouraging than getting fined for not having money). Flash that student ID at the local grocery store or even the movie theater to make sure you’re scooping up all of the deals you can.
Automate your savings.
Remember that savings account we talked about? It works best when you continually put money into it. Set up direct deposit with your job and have a portion of your paycheck go right into your savings account on payday. It’s much easier to stick to your budget and still save each month when it’s done automatically without any legwork. Additionally, you could set up multiple savings accounts and have funds directed to each, so you’re simultaneously saving for things like emergencies, a house, and that grill you’ve had your eye on.
No matter your financial situation, there are always ways to be strategic about saving so you can begin growing a nest egg for the future. You can make that future even brighter with new skills learned at Community Care College. All of our students learn life skills like the basics of finical planning in our Career and Life Development courses. Head here to see how!