You’re a collegiette—you know what it’s like living on a tight budget. Between classes, schoolwork, internships, sports games and club meetings (not to mention dating and spending time with your girlfriends) it’s hard to find time to fit in a part-time job. And even if you do have some income, you’re probably only making minimum wage for a handful of hours every week. If you’re lucky, your parents throw you a few extra bucks here and there, but for the most part, living on a college girl’s budget is quite the challenge. So if your New Year’s resolution is to spend less, or if you’re simply saving up for your next big purchase, here are some incredibly easy ways compiled by to ensure your bank account balance doesn’t hit zero anytime soon!
If you’ve tried to set up a budget based on how much you earn and can spend per month, you know that sticking to that plan isn’t always easy. Mint.com is an incredible website that will help you realistically manage your finances. It’s completely free to sign up, and all you have to do is input your credit card and bank information. (If you’re worried about inputting your personal information, check out these helpful FAQs.) The site will track your spending and help you set up budgets you can actually stick to. They’ll even send you e-mails if you go over your allotted spending or have a bill due soon! The site also offers tools for paying down debt and saving money. “Essentially, once you set it up it monitors all of your finances for you and it only takes you a couple of minutes per month,” explains Kate Zasada, a recent Northeastern graduate who swears by her Mint.com account. “It even has an iPhone app!”
If you don’t want to sign up for the site, Dara Duguay, author of Please Send Money: A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own, suggests checking out the free budgeting templates for Microsoft Excel. All of these templates are completely free, and a number are geared specifically towards college students.
Let your savings make money for you
One of the easiest ways to make interest on the cash you’ve already got saved is by keeping your money in a high interest savings account. By literally doing nothing but letting your money sit in the bank, you’ll automatically earn interest. Although most interest rates aren’t particularly high, a few do have rates higher than 1 percent. If you put $3,000 into a savings account with a 1.3 percent interest rate, you’ll make $40 on that money in 12 months. Not great, but that extra cash can’t hurt, right? Check out this list of banks to get you started. Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times bestseller Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties, suggests checking out Bankrate, a site where you can compare rates of banks across the country.
Bank of America has a “Keep the Change” program, which automatically transfers remaining change from your checking account purchases into your savings. Check out the program on their website.
An easy way to make interest on your money is by placing a sum into a Certificate of Deposit (CD). While money placed in bonds can take up to 10 years to mature, CD’s can be cashed in just six months or a year. “Girls just need to be aware that they can’t access this money for a period of time,” explained Duguay.
Another idea is to consider investing in no-load mutual funds with low expenses. This tip from Kobliner is for young women who have already paid off any debt and set aside funds for emergencies and post-grad life. “Vanguard offers a STAR fund, made up of 60 percent stocks, 40 percent bonds, that requires a minimum initial investment of $1,000,” explains Kobliner. “T. Rowe Price allows investors to get started with a minimum of $50 a month automatically deducted from a checking account.”
The see the other 8 easy ways to save money while living the broke college life, check out the complete article at HerCampus.com.
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