You’re in the final stretch before the end of the school year, and if you’re like a lot of your classmates, your bank account might be running on empty. If you’re tired of missing out on the fun, you need to figure out your money.
A busy class schedule, hours of studying, and a plethora of extra-curricular activities can make earning money during the school year challenging. So to make sure next year you’ve still got some money left over, here’s a three-step guide to help you put your summer earnings to good use.
1. Identify how much you need
Start your summer off by taking a trip down Credit-Card-Memory Lane and totaling up your spending during the spring semester. Then go back through any cash withdrawals to figure out about how much cash you spent. Double this total amount for two semesters and give yourself a cushion of a few hundred dollars for something that might be on the agenda next year that you didn’t do this year (like studying abroad or having a car on campus). This is how much money you should strive to have in your bank account come fall.
2. Set smaller goals
It might seem unrealistic that you could save that much in a matter of months, especially since you’ll have expenses over the summer, too. Instead, set mini goals — whether they are weekly or monthly. How much money do you need to save per week to meet your goal by the end of the summer? How many hours of work does that come out to, given any potential summer spending? If the above number still seems out of reach, there are still a few things you can do. Examine your expenses, either for the summer or next year, for any that you can cut back on a little. It may also be worth talking to your parents. Be honest and lay out your plan, and show them where you’re coming up short. They may be happy to help you out when they see how much work you’re putting into saving and being responsible.
79.2% of college students worry about debt. One way to give yourself a cushion during the school year? Your summer savings.Tweet
3. Put your plan in motion
A plan is only as good as the action you put behind it. One way to achieve your goal is to make saving automatic. If your summer job offers direct deposit, use that to help you. If that money is going into your checking account, consider setting an automatic transfer every other week or once a month from your checking account to your savings account to help you set some money aside in a place you’re less likely to touch it.
Cut out as much unnecessary spending as possible — we’re talking lattes, eating out, subscriptions, and movie theater snacks. We know you want to enjoy your summer vacation, but preparing for an amazing next school year may take some sacrifice.
Even as you’re being smart about your spending, make sure to reward yourself along the way. Your savings plan should make you feel empowered and excited about what’s to come. Once you’ve stockpiled some cash, splurge on that ice cream cone you’ve been craving — it’s the little things that encourage us to keep pursuing our goals.
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