If you’re reading this article, odds are you’re a college student looking for an edge to get a head start on your finances. There are numerous money tips for college students which we discuss in this article.
However, if you only take away one thing, the biggest money tip discussed below is vital. After years of research, this tip is biggest factor we’ve observed that will lead to future money success!
The Biggest Money Tip For College Students
Below is a hypothetical story that summarizes what a vast majority of young professionals do that do not use the tip I’m going to discuss.
What Most People Do
Many students aren’t concerned with money. The reason being is that grants, scholarships, and most importantly Federal student loans are easy to get.
Therefore, many don’t have to figure out money until the real world slaps them across the face post-graduation.
Once they graduate, they realize they need to do something. Thus, they begin searching the internet.
Cookie cutter websites detailing how to build a financial plan always start by telling people to build a budget.
Then they listen to ‘money coaches’ or radio financial experts scream ‘cut expenses, cut expenses, cut expenses.’ Most of these grifters people are listening to on the internet or the radio are sharing absolute garbage.
However, people listen to these sales people, try to cut all their expenses, then quit budgeting because its “too hard.”
Why Most People Fail With Money
The aforementioned grifters blame others for failures. After all, their ego prevents them from understanding their tip of cutting your expenses doesn’t work. Instead, they blame you and say you don’t have discipline.
However, the reality is the cost cutting tip they are telling people is in reality asking them to change their entire lifestyle overnight.
If you try to change your entire lifestyle overnight, probability says you are going to fail because that is extremely hard to do.
On top of that, most financial goals take time to achieve. Therefore, trying to change your life style overnight with goals that will take years to achieve gives you virtually a 0% probability of success.
What Should You Do
As a student, you have an advantage relative to those that already graduated because you only have to worry about day-to-day expenses. Those that have graduated have to worry about all three categories.
Now here is the big money tip for college students….
Our strategy doesn’t say to cut all your expenses immediately. Why? Because we know trying to change your lifestyle overnight leads to failure.
Instead, our biggest money tip for college students is to cut or reduce one cost for 40 days. It will then become habit. Then after 40 days you pick a new expense and repeat.
For example, say your goal was to reduce your monthly partying expense from $200 to $150. Do this for 40 days and it will become habit (plus you may get really good at getting others to buy you drinks).
After those 40 days pass, you set another goal such as getting rid of Netflix and you do that for another 40 days.
The Money Advantage You Get From This Tip
This money tip is massive for students to master before graduation.
Previously, I mentioned the 3 categories you should use to organize your money when you budget. As I said, most people after graduation are having to worry about all three categories.
If you take advantage of the money tip described above as a student, then when you graduate you won’t have to worry about changing your lifestyle. You won’t have to worry about day-to-day expenses.
You can focus 100% of your energy on money for future self which consist of investments and paying off debt.
Plus, the probability that you are successful in following your financial plan grows exponentially!
Credit Building Money Tips For College Students
You may not need credit now but you will post graduation. Now is a perfect time to build it.
The best way is taking advantage of your credit utilization ratio.
The lower interest rate will save you $10,000s if not more over your life time.
Other Money Tips For College Students
These tips may sound like common sense. However, don’t overlook them.
They are important because they save you time.
Why is time important?
I often hear students say things like, “I don’t have time to work because I have to study.”
Doing the following will reduce how much time you have to spend studying. Therefore, freeing up time to work.
Have Classes and Go To Them
This one may seem obvious but don’t underestimate a 5 credit course at 8am every single day. You may think just because you did this in High School, it’ll be a walk in the park. In college, things can snowball quickly if you miss a class.
Suddenly, you fail a class and have to make it. Then instead of graduating in 4 years, you graduate in 5.
That extra year of lost income and experience is huge when thinking about money.
But going to them is just the start.
I meet students all the time that might only be taking 4 or 5 classes a semester. Try taking more. Obviously, if you do this you may not be able to work but that is ok if you have a full schedule because it means you’ll graduate earlier.
Here is one thing I noticed while in undergrad. Most professors literally take straight from the text book. I mean literally follow it chapter by chapter.
Because of this, many people say they don’t need to go to class. They’ll just read the text.
However, by going to class, you’ll know what the professor thinks is important. Therefore, you’ll know what you’ll need to memorize and regurgitate on an exam.
Thus, when you go to class bring your text book instead of a note pad. Then highlight the text that your teacher is reading outloud. When its time to study, just memorize your highlights (and maybe some notes you write in on the margins).
Then you can actually do what I did to make money.
I would go home that night and type out only the highlighted sections.
First, this would help me memorize it.
Second, I sold my notes to all the people that didn’t go to class.
These are real money tips for college students that you can actually apply. The biggest money tip discussed above is vitally important. The sooner you start doing it, the easier money will become.
If you want help setting up your student financial plan, be sure to check out our new technology built just for students. When you sign-up you also get a designated FitBUX Coach to answer any finance questions you have.
By David Hughes and Joseph Reinke, CFA