One of the best things you can do for your future is to build healthy habits now—in all areas of your life. From physical to emotional to mental to financial, it will do you a world of good to start as early as you can because your choices now will determine your destiny. Whether in high school or college, it’s never too early to begin building money-saving habits. Here are some practical tips to help you save during this chapter of your life.
Choose a savings account that offers high earning interests
Can you believe that you can grow your savings, even by a small amount, and even when it’s just sitting in a savings account? Many online banks offer savings accounts that exist for this purpose. This is called the annual percentage yield (APY), the total amount of interest you can get on your savings over a single year.
Opt for one that is a certified member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) because this is how you can ensure that you will earn a higher interest rate and help you rest assured that your savings will remain protected and secure at all times.
Take loans only for essential things.
If you must take out personal loans, make sure it’s always for essentials. Here are some examples of expenses that are worth taking out a loan for:
- Medical expenses, especially those that are not covered by insurance
- Emergency home repairs and maintenance tasks, especially if you don’t live with your parents
- Car repairs, especially if you need it to get to school safely
- If you are indeed running on empty, cash-wise
Don’t take out a loan for vacations or things that fall on the “want” side of the spectrum—like hobbies, fine dining, and other more expensive or luxurious items. These things can wait. A little delayed gratification now will be most advantageous for your financial future.
Get organized and stay on top of your financial life
Having structure entails building a routine that helps you keep track of your finances and accounting. By being thorough with your record-keeping and updating your expenses and what’s left in your account for the rest of the month, you will constantly have a vivid picture of your financial situation and how you can improve it.
There are plenty of free apps that can help you monitor your progress. You can make use of a Google spreadsheet or even a traditional notebook. Find out what works for you and stay consistent in monitoring your expenses and savings.
Be strategic with your groceries.
Here are some practical tips for being innovative and strategic with the way you handle your groceries:
- Do not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. This is when you’re tempted to get excessive amounts of food that you don’t need, and worse, you decide on what to buy based on your cravings and not what is good for you.
- Create a budget and schedule, and stick to both as much as possible. Consider learning how to do meal planning. It will save you a lot of time since you can work on all your meals for one day, and you get to choose yummy but still healthy ingredients and recipes. It will also help you control how much you spend on food instead of opting for delivery every day.
Rent or buy your textbooks
Not only is buying brand-new books unhealthy for your wallet, but it’s also not the best for the environment. Ask for help from your upperclassmen friends to see if they still have their old textbooks, or visit used bookstores and libraries to see if you are legally allowed to make copies yourself. If you must buy brand new copies of books, make sure it’s only for those with new editions and no older copies in circulation.
Cut back where you can
You’d be surprised by how much unnecessary spending we do every day. This includes music, streaming, paid apps, subscriptions, and other monthly expenses that do nothing to build our wealth. Check every device you own and your online financial accounts to see how much of your money goes to these monthly expenses and cut as many of them as you can. You don’t need to pay for music; you can listen to your favorite songs for free through YouTube.
Fight for discipline and control.
And lastly, remember discipline will go a long way in helping you save. Build healthy habits as early as now—as a grown-up, you will thank yourself for it.