Saving is the act of putting something aside, most times money, over a particular period for a specific purpose. Interestingly, many people who save do so without a definite and concrete plan. Without a plan and a high level of self-discipline, saving money can be very difficult. In the 21st century economy, one of the things we are starting to come to terms with is that saving is not limited to liquid cash or currency. It includes anything that can be accepted as a means of exchange or that can be used as a means of measuring value.
Many students find it difficult to save mainly because of two things: it is either because their allowances are barely enough to cater for their needs, or they simply lack the will (and consequently the right plan) to save. Whatever financial obligation you have to meet, a clear understanding of savings and what it entails will help you in your bid to save and plan for rainy days. Here are some of the reasons why you should save money, even as a student.
- Emergency: savings help to take care of emergency spending that could arise from unforeseen occurrences. For example, it could be sudden health issues, accommodation issues or an unplanned trip.
- Long term saving for bigger projects: savings make it possible to purchase seemingly expensive things that, given normal circumstances, your allowances might not be able to cover. Things like textbooks, accommodation expenses and some other student needs.
- To pay yourself: as part of your income is yours to keep, savings help you to pay yourself. After paying so many bills, it is also important to pay yourself. This is, however, not possible when you do not have any money left. To avoid this, saving a part of your income makes a percentage of it available for you.
- To harness opportunities as they come: these opportunities may include investment or professional training opportunities which may arise at any time.
Yes! Saving money can be difficult, especially when you have so many bills to pay. However, considering the important points noted above, we can conclude that saving is a necessary part of our daily lives that we need to pay close attention to, no matter how difficult it may seem.
How to save money as a student
- Track your allowances: as a student, you must keep a record of all your allowances expected in a particular period, maybe in a month or a week. Knowing this will help you to wisely allocate your allowances to your expenses. Get to know the sources of your allowances. You should also know how consistent your allowances are and if there are prospects for an increase.
- Earn more money: savings becomes easier when there is more money available to you. Therefore, efforts can be made to earn more money. As students, there are so many part-time job opportunities you can take and most of them wouldn’t affect your schooling. This includes freelancing, marketing, paid internships and working in sales. Earning more to save is one of the basic but surest strategies.
- Create a budget: a budget is a list of all proposed expenditure for a particular time, based on expected income for that period. To save, a student must have a budget that he or she strictly keeps to and allows for flexibility only when it is necessary. In preparing a budget, savings must be included as an integral part. You should track down your expenses and ensure that it covers things that are your essential needs rather than mere wants.
- Create a savings plan: these days, there are different types of savings plans you can try out and most of them are designed to be student friendly. These savings plans help students save with discipline. Usually, you should have a separate account into which you can put aside some money. These days there are a lot of apps and tools for this. These platforms are usually very safe and, most times, you could even earn a little interest on the money saved. Many of the online saving platforms also deduct a fixed amount automatically from the students’ account to be saved. This way you don’t have to worry about putting the money into the account yourself.
- Ignore the joneses: to save, there is a need to be financially disciplined. Discipline is required to stick to the budget and avoid impulse buying. Ignoring the joneses is simply not spending on something just because other people are spending on it. You will need to learn this and keep it to heart if you are able to save successfully. Buying something because everyone else is buying it will lead to overspending and debt, thereby, leaving you with nothing to save. You must ensure that you always stick to your budget.
- Buying in bulk: this has proved to be one of the most effective ways to save money as a student. Most students think buying in bulk costs more; maybe because much will be spent at one time. Buying in bulk helps you to save up what might have been spent on buying things over time.
- Avoid eating out as much as you can: students love to eat out, but this costs quite a bit of money. By buying your own food and cooking it yourself, you save so much that would have been spent in a restaurant. You can cook big meals, consume some and store others in a fridge or freezer for another day – saving even more money.
Saving money is important, but we must note that instead of saving money, an equally smart move is to invest and try to earn more. So, instead of simply leaving the money in the savings account, investing in a profitable and sure venture can be a wise move. Of course, either move requires a lot of discipline, wisdom and strategic planning.
Good luck with your savings!