Invest in your future by learning good money habits early on

Students can take advantage of money-saving techniques for a better financial future

If there’s one thing a college student is most commonly burdened with, it’s money. Whether that means paying for tuition or looking for a little extra spending cash, money is undoubtedly something that has a large effect on student living.

But learning good money habits in college is an important step in maintaining a healthy financial future.

Throughout my first year of college, I kept up with my studies in addition to working an online job. When summer came around, instead of all fun and no obligations, I started a second job on top of summer school.

I have been taught from the beginning how essential is it to keep a savings account. However, I used to think I was being forced to put my hard-earned money into an account that I wouldn’t be allowed to touch.

Now I realize the importance of starting to save as early as possible in order to have a more secure future.

Rebecca Lauterbach, a controller for Land Advisors Organization, said there are several reasons why it is important to save.

“The first one would be to save for emergency funds,” Lauterbach said.

It’s difficult to think about an emergency when life is going great, but things do happen, and it’s much better to be prepared rather than wishing for money that’s not there. College students may not have to worry about paying for everything now, but there will be a time when mom and dad say enough is enough and you’re on your own.

One thing that students can think about to help motivate themselves to save money is a future vacation. Spring break will be coming up sooner than expected, and going to Mexico isn’t as cheap when one is paying for the trip without additional support.

There are also situations and events that are fun but expensive that people may want to save money for. Not having to worry about how to scrap together the last remaining cents for something saves unneeded stress.

“Taking a little bit of money out of each paycheck will benefit you when these situations arise,” Lauterbach said.

For me, taking out a small portion out of my paycheck gives me peace of mind that I’ll have money on the side if the time ever comes where I need it. It's easy to set up an automatic transfer from a checking into a savings account. This way, it doesn’t have to be a conscious effort to save money, and it is easier to stick with a goal of putting aside however much per pay period.

Another tool for saving money is apps that give users easy access to smart money-saving techniques. 

There is also something called the envelope method, which entails taking out a certain amount of cash and putting it into an envelope for specific items or situations. This requires you to stick to however much is put aside.

When it comes to my own money, I am more reluctant to spend it than blow it on something I really want. Since starting a saving account that is solely my own responsibility, I know I’m not going to spend it on random items. The savings account allows me to focus on the future and make me more financially secure in the long run.

For a lot of students, it’s hard to focus on life past where we are now or where we plan on being career-wise. However, putting aside money for after college allows peace of mind in the future. Putting down a deposit on a car or paying our own rent adds up quickly, and it’s better to be prepared for those times.

“Regardless if it’s short term or long term,” Lauterbach said, “You’re still never going to know if you have an emergency … where are those funds going to come from?”

A way to manage money and to decide how much to start saving is to create a budget. It creates an opportunity to save smart and not overspend. The most important thing is to set a goal and to commit to those goals.

Most people know how important it is to save. The issue is knowing where to start and how much to put away. My advice: unless you can afford to put aside a large amount of money, start small and work your way up. Over time, it will become easier to put aside more and to become money-saving savvy.

Reach the columnist at or follow @thedominiquez on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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