1) Make a budgeting plan. You can do this by understanding your income and your future payments like insurance, rent or mortgage, car payments, etc. After you know your payments and income for each month, plan for the money that is left. I try to put 30% or more toward saving, 50% toward necessities, and 20% toward discretionary items. If less goes toward the necessities, more goes toward saving—that is my priority. It is like Warren Buffett says, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
2) Seek financial aid and scholarships. Always apply for the FAFSA, no matter your income. FAFSA can help many pay for college through the Pell and Cal Grant, and it is needed for applying to other scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships out there that you can apply for, and guess what: you DO NOT have to pay them back. There are many programs out there to help you—yes you—pay for college, so go look for them! You can’t beat free.
3)Take advantage of the school library and rent your books. They are there if you need your books printed or if you need to rent out any books for class. College can be tough with all the expenses, so take advantage of the help that is there. By saving money on books, you can put more toward your bills or your future. Just don’t ever forget the age-old saying: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
4) Live below your means. This might be the most important financial advice that anyone could give. As the indulgent humans that we are, we will often splurge our money on pleasures which are forgotten within minutes. Living below your means is when you act like you have less money than you do. Put more of your spending to your future rather than your present. Invest, save, and watch your money grow over time. For example, for those that are avid spenders on coffee shops, think about this: one cup may cost around 5 dollars. If you had a coffee each day for a month, that is nearly 150 dollars just on coffee! That is 1,800 dollars a year! Could you imagine saving that money? Or—better yet—investing it for an average return of 7% a year (the low average of the S&P 500 Index).
5)Think long-term! Consider saving apps like Acorns. Acorns is free for those that sign up with student emails, and it invests your money for you. You can choose any amount of money to add each week, and it automatically rounds up your purchases to reinvest them. If you don’t like the idea of using an app to save your money, then think long term by always setting aside money. Maybe you can grow enough wealth to invest yourself or seek investment in other areas. Your future self will thank you!