Tips for Students: How to Save Money for Something Big

Tips for Students: How to Save Money for Something Big
Written by Irina Vasilescu

As a student, your source of income is basically the allowance that your parents give you. If your family is well-off, you might have more than enough money to buy gadgets and the little luxuries that you can afford as a student. But if you come from a family with an average income, you might have to make do without such indulgences.

What if there’s a gadget that you really would like to buy but your parents won’t give you the money for it? Or maybe there’s a weekend trip with friends that you would really like to join, but you don’t have the budget for the expenses?

The good news is that with a lot of patience and diligence, you can save enough money as a student to purchase a big-ticket item. Find out exactly what you can do to come up with the funds to buy whatever it is that you need, or want. Read all these tips for students and find out how to save money for something big!

How Students Can Save Money for Big Purchases

The key to saving up for a big-ticket purchase as a student is to set realistic expectations about your funds. Based on the amount of allowance that you are receiving from your parents, is it realistic for you to expect to save up for a down payment for a sports car? Maybe not.

But if it’s a gaming console, a tablet computer, a laptop computer or some other gadget, you might just be able to save up enough funds. Even if your end goal is to buy a second hand car, you might just be motivated enough to work extra hard to get exactly what you want by looking for a part-time source of income.

To give you an idea about how you can save money for big purchases, take a look at the following tips for students:

Have a clear picture of the big purchase that you will be saving up for

The number one thing that you need to do when saving up for something big is to be clear about what exactly it is that you would like to buy. If it’s a gadget, print a picture of the product and post it in your study table.

Whenever you see the picture, you can use that as a motivator to work doubly hard in saving up. If it’s a road trip with friends and you need funds to contribute for gas money, food, accommodations, etc., pin a map of where you plan to go somewhere in your dorm room.

The same thing holds true if you’re saving up for a car, a signature prom dress, a family vacation, or something more crucial like college money if you’re a high school student. No dream is too big or too small and if you work hard enough, you should be able to achieve it by conscientiously saving up.

After determining what exactly it is that you are saving up for, have a rough estimate of how much money you’d need. If you’re saving up for a sleek new laptop, go online and compare the prices of different brands available.

It also pays to set a deadline of until when you will be saving up for the purchase. For gadgets, you might want to time it during the month that stores and manufacturers hold big sales and price slash-offs.

Split your allowance and only spend half

Next, determine exactly how much allowance you are receiving and split it in half in order to make sure these tips for students apply to you. You can save the 50% and only spend the remaining 50%. Sounds a bit harsh? Well, if you really want to get that big-ticket item, you do need to make sacrifices with your spending.

Fortunately, you do not necessarily have to deprive yourself of food or go without rent money for a month. There are ways for you to slash off your budget without feeling deprived of all the necessities you need as a student. Sure, you might have to make do without a few luxuries here and there – but you can save up for these things in the future as well.

Create a budget and stick to it

By now, you already have an idea about how much you need to save up for your big ticket purchase. You also have split your allowance in half, so it’s time to create a budget. When making a list, see to it that it’s as detailed as possible.

How much are you spending on food, accommodations, transportation and other student expenses? If you live in an apartment that’s a few minutes away from school or the university, how about buying a second hand bike?

This will free up a lot of your transportation allowance. For your food money, eating takeout is not necessarily a good thing for your student’s budget. If you’re living with a bunch of other kids, you can pool your money together and create a weekly menu. Not only will you eat healthier, but you can save money on groceries, too. Having roommates also make it easier for utility bills and rent money to be divided.

Go back to basics with a piggy bank

You won’t believe how much loose change and small bills students accumulate on a regular basis. You can pool together this amount by having a piggy bank or a savings jar where you can stash loose change. Just make sure that the container is not easily opened, so you won’t be tempted to get money for candy from the vending machine. And that’s not all, we have a few more tips for students!

Hang out at your school library

If you only hang out at the school library when exams near, you are not maximizing its facilities. Public and school libraries are an excellent source of e-books which you can borrow and return, just like physical books. You can also go online at the library, borrow DVDs and use its available resources which you would not have to pay for at all.

Quit keeping up with the lifestyle of your roommates

If you have a roommate with a trust fund, keeping up with his or her lifestyle if your parents are average earners is not necessarily a good thing. Stop keeping up with the Joneses and live within your means. You’re a student, anyway, so do not be in competition with the lifestyle of other kids.

Enjoy what you currently have and be thankful for the experience of trying to live within your means. The patience and skill that you will acquire will come in handy once you are already out of the university and living your own life.

Learn how to save on your entertainment expenses

Hanging out with friends on pricey restaurants, bars or other entertainment establishments can put a huge dent on your student’s budget. Of course, you need to look for ways to entertain yourself in between classes, but you can do it without having to spend too much.

Instead of catching the latest Hollywood flicks at night, try catching a matinee or daytime shows. These are usually offered by theatres at half the price, and you will see the same movie anyway so why does the time matter?

Take advantage of student discounts

What’s good about being a student is that you can take full advantage of the discounts offered by different establishments. Check out the establishments outside the university and you will see bakeries, bars, restaurants, diners and other businesses offering discounts for students – which are their main customer base.

When travelling, you can catch bus trips from operators which offer student passes. These are way cheaper than regular tickets. If you’re new in the city and you would like to go to museums or other tourist attractions, check out the websites of the establishments and know when they offer discounted rates or even free entrance tickets.

You can also buy stuff or go to places in groups so that you can split the expenses, and make it kinder to your wallet. Many tips for students will teach how how to abstain from things, but we are trying to tell you that you don’t have to give up anything crucial actually!

Set a deadline of up to when you will be saving up for the big purchase

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when trying to save up for something big is not setting a deadline for it. Whether it’s a gadget or a trip somewhere that you are saving up for, you can much more quickly reach your goals if there is a deadline. However, make sure that it is realistic.

For a new laptop computer, for example, you can give yourself three months but for something bigger like an out-of-town trip, you might need a year to come up with the funds.

If necessary, look for an extra source of funds

Finally, you can amp up your savings by looking for extra source of funds. If you’re studying near your parents’ home, offer to do chores for them in exchange for money. You can also get age-appropriate part-time jobs.

You can go online and look for websites which accept freelancers. During your free time, you can log in to do some data entry work and get paid for it. You can also ask the business owners near your school or your apartment if you can apply for part-time jobs.

By following these tips, you can come up with the funds to pay for that big-ticket item that you’ve long been wanting to buy.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.

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