Saving is arguably one of the most rewarding yet difficult tasks to accomplish. It requires self-control, discipline, and careful planning. I think we all can agree that finances are stressful, especially in college. How am I going to pay for college? Is my job going to pay enough for me to be able to pay off of my loans? How am I going to be able to pay for my car repairs? How am I going to buy food? These are difficult questions that you might not even know the answers to and that can make your financial future look daunting. No need to fear. Follow these simple steps on how to start a savings plan and the nervous sweats whenever anyone utters the word or anything that has to do with the word “finances” will be greatly minimized.
Step 1: Understand your Cash Flow
How much are you bringing in a month? How much are you spending a month? How much money do you have saved already? Having that hard conversation with yourself about how much you spend a month on McConn or Chick-Fil-A may not be the easiest of tasks, but it is necessary. A successful savings plan begins with understanding your current financial state.
Step 2: Cut Down
No, I do not mean on carbs. Cut down financially on areas where you don’t need to be spending as much money. Maybe that means one less coffee a week or using your meal plan that you have already paid for instead of eating out as much. It could also mean selling your current car and buying one without or lower monthly payments. How you cut down on expenses will depend on the person as everyone is unique. When evaluating your current financial state, you will notice that there are areas in which you don’t need to spend as much. By cutting down on those areas you can save yourself a good amount of money.
Step 3: Develop Healthy Money Habits
Start with small goals and work your way up. Like I said previously, maybe drink water one day instead of coffee. If that means walking the long way around campus to avoid walking past the sweet aroma of coffee which will tempt you to stop and buy some, then get those steps in and walk the long way. Five dollars a week may seem small but remember by accomplishing small goals you are making your big picture goal more and more possible.
Step 4: Refine your Savings Goals
Saving money is a lifetime endeavor. As you change, the way you save will change also. You must be flexible with how you go about saving. Maybe using an app on your phone works for you now because, let’s face it, college students don’t go anywhere without their phones. As you get older maybe you find yourself not using your phone as much but find that writing everything down by hand works better. You are not tied to one way to save for the rest of your life. You find what works for you and go with that.