Savings Habits All College Students Need to Learn

Going to college is an exciting moment in your life. For most, it is the first time you get to live without your parents and can truly experience freedom and independence. This newfound freedom is especially apparent when it comes to finances. Follow these simple savings tips to develop good savings habits that will follow you through your post-college life.

  1. Set up a savings account. Establishing healthy savings habits early on is the best way to set yourself up for success later in life.  Missouri Central Credit Union has an excellent free savings account that allows you to schedule automatic transfers each month, making it really easy to save without thinking.
  2. Start building good credit. This doesn’t mean opening a credit card with every company offering you a free pizza! Build credit by making bill payments on time, and being smart about your credit card purchases. Maybe get a credit card that you use only for gas or groceries and then pay it off each month.
  3. Make (and stick to) a budget. Even if it is as basic as food, entertainment, bills, and savings, if you can maintain your budget, you won’t be caught off-guard when spring break or an impromptu trip rolls around.
  4. Learn how to manage a checking account. Balancing a checking account is one of the most important things you can learn in college. MCCU doesn’t charge a monthly service fee and our checking account doesn’t carry a minimum balance requirement. 
  5. Get a part-time job. This may seem counterintuitive, but Department of Education data shows that students who work 12 hours or less a week actually get better grades overall. Plus when you work hard to earn your own money, you will be more aware of what you are spending it on and less likely to make impulse purchases.
  6. Save up for large purchases and trips. If you know all your buddies are planning a big spring break trip, start saving now. By setting aside 10 or 15 dollars a week, you won’t have to stress out about how you are going to pay for the trip once March rolls around.
  7. Buy generic, used, or rent (if possible). In most cases, when you buy name brand items like toiletries and pantry items, you are paying a premium for the name only. Generic brands usually have the same ingredients list for a lower price. Textbooks are one of the most expensive aspects of college, after tuition and room/board. Look online and at used bookstores for any textbooks you need. If you don’t plan on keeping your textbooks after the semester, several places like Chegg and Amazon offer textbook rentals for a reduced rate.
  8. Bike, walk, or use public transit. If you don’t absolutely need a car, don’t bring one to campus. You will save tons of money when you don’t have to worry about gas, insurance, maintenance, and unexpected repairs.
  9. Live smarter. If you can, live on campus for as long as possible. In general, room and board for a semester will be less expensive than living off-campus for the same amount of time. If you do live off-campus, find a roommate or two to save on rent and monthly utilities.
  10. Take advantage of on-campus amenities while you can. Most campuses have a workout facility free for students, and often you can save money on coffee when you get drip coffee from the dining hall. Save your triple-shot mochas for a special occasion or finals week.
  11. Don’t leave home without your student ID. Lots of businesses will offer a student discount, from the movie theater to Amtrak. Even if you only save a dollar or two each week, when you are building good savings habits, every dollar adds up.

Not sure where to start? A simple savings account is a great place to begin. Talk to a Member Service Representative today to get started with MCCU.