Seven Money Tips You Need to Know Before You Start College

money saving tips

As you prepare to head off to college this fall, guest blogger, Nichole Coyle, Certified Financial Planner™, has seven money saving tips to help you adjust to this new phase in your life.

Get a Part Time Job

There are plenty of part-time work opportunities right now, whether at the local retail store, serving or bartending at a local restaurant, or even on campus. Many local employers provide flexible schedules for college students, and will work around your class schedule. When it comes to on-campus employment, there are many positions working in the bookstore, at office jobs, as an aid, and so much more. Finding a part-time job will provide spending money and the ability to save or pay some of your college tuition instead of taking out more loans.

Save Where You Can

There are lots of opportunities to save money while in college. One of the biggest ways to cut costs is to live at home, if you are close enough to do so. You can also take online classes to save money on gas, pack a lunch and bring a refillable water bottle instead of buying food each day. And look into taking more than 12 credits in a semester (many universities offer several free credits after the first 12).

Start Saving Early

Consider turning your current savings account into an emergency fund (or open up a new account if you’d like to keep it separate) and start saving at least 10% of your paychecks into that account. An emergency fund can save you from having to use a high-interest credit card in the event of an unforeseen expense. In addition, consider opening a Roth IRA to jump start your retirement savings. Compounding interest can have a remarkable effect when starting early, and can set you up wonderfully for the future.

Use Federal Student Aid Wisely

You most likely filled out and utilized FAFSA already, and around this time, you should be receiving your federal aid awards. Look things over thoroughly before accepting your federal student loans. Consider how much you need for the semester and don’t over-borrow because you will have to pay it back after graduating. If federal aid doesn’t cover your tuition, look into more student loan options at your school.

Spend Modestly

Remember that you will only be in your dorm or college apartment for a short period of time. You don’t need to buy everything brand new. Utilize thrift stores and other second-hand markets to purchase your essentials. There are plenty of DIY ways to upcycle items (and bonus, it’s good for the environment)! If you need ideas, follow Club Ignite on Instagram!


Look into free and inexpensive activities on campus. Check out local hiking trails, parks, bookstores, libraries, and other community organizations that offer free entertainment.

Needs vs. Wants

Finally, consider what you need versus what you want. Make a list of all your expenses and note what is discretionary and what is required. You don’t have to get rid of spending on discretionary items altogether, but be aware of what those items are and consider the priority of that item versus saving the money for something else that may be more important.

As always, if you have questions or would like to discuss your unique situation or more money saving tips, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Nichole M. Coyle
20333 Emerald Pkwy
Cleveland, OH 44135
216.621.4644 x1607

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