Most college students dream of summer vacation – fun in the sun, relaxing activities and plenty of free time. Unfortunately, not all fun summer activities are free or even cheap. Your summer vacation could be much more expensive than you’d like it to be.
Take steps to save for the upcoming term while still enjoying all the awesomeness that summer has to offer!
Create a Feasible Budget
No matter where you are in life, a budget will always be your friend, and they’re especially useful to college students. This summer, create a realistic, feasible monthly budget that you can stick to. A feasible budget should include the following expenses:
For the best results, create drafts of your budget first. Then, scale it down by removing luxury items and activities you can’t afford, as well as things you don’t need. Keep working the budget until it’s in a place where you can afford the essentials, have room for fun and save money.
Stay Within Your Means
It’s easy to live beyond your means during the summer, as there are plenty of fun activities that could bust your budget. If you want to save money, live within your means even if it seems you have the money to spend. Money in your savings account is ‘fallback’ money, meaning it should only be used for emergencies. So, if there’s ever an issue that requires immediate attention, you will have the money to cover it. For example, needing to purchase a book or other materials for a course. It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes, but try to stay within your monthly budget.
Open a Savings Account that Automates Savings
Most banks offer automated savings accounts, meaning the same amount of money is automatically deposited into the account on a scheduled basis. For most young people and college students, this deposit usually coincides with their pay dates. This way, they aren’t tempted to spend their entire paycheck, as a specific portion is first moved to their savings account. Automating your savings is perhaps the most effective way to save money, especially if you restrict your own access to the account. Just remember to set an automation schedule that works for you, open a savings account with a high interest rate and only saving what you can afford.
It’s simple math: to save more, you must spend less. Surprisingly, if you spend less, you can do more. For example, if you plan an activity for a certain week, you should spend less the prior week. This will give you more financial flexibility, allowing you to enjoy the activity to the fullest. Implementing this strategy throughout the summer could actually enable you to do more social activities, as it will prevent you from spending your entire entertainment budget on one activity. Financially planning for future events can also be applied to other areas, such as buying luxury items and finding housing.