5 Tips for Saving Money in Your Last Year of College

It’s your senior year of college, and you are looking forward to graduation with a mixture of exhilaration and trepidation. You finally will be able to embark on your professional life, which is very exciting, but you have more than a few misgivings. You are not sure how, where, or when you will be able to find a job, and are not even positive it will be in your chosen career field. You know there is a good chance you will work at minimum wage.

To make matters worse, you may be graduating with a ridiculous amount of student loan debt.  In 2014, 7 out of 10 seniors who graduated embarked with an average of $28,950 in debt.

This is a critical time in your financial life, which is something that is easy to overlook in light of all of your other concerns.  Right now you are stressing about your schedule, your exams, and the search for your first job after school.  The last thing you may be thinking about is how to save money.

But the time to save is now.  You can give yourself a head start with your savings and you can teach yourself valuable budgeting skills which you can use after you graduate.  Did you know if you save just $100 extra every month, you can cut years off of your student loan repayments?

Here are 5 quick tips to help you out!

1. Start cooking your own food.

Do you happen to live in a dorm or apartment which is equipped with a functional kitchen? If so, this is a great time to start cooking your own food if you do not already. Yes, it takes extra time and energy when you feel like you need both for studying and your job search, but it also can save a boatload of money.

Plus, over the long run, this is absolutely necessary. Once you are out in the “real world,” there will not be a cheap, handy cafeteria to feed you.

2. Keep a monthly budget.

Most people do not keep a monthly budget at all, even long after they graduate. But if you do not keep careful track of your income and your expenses, you will always end up wondering at the end of every month, “Where is all my money going?”

There is no reason to keep yourself in the dark regarding your own financial life. It can be intimidating to start budgeting, but once you get used to it, you will discover that it doesn’t take very long, and it provides you with a lot of indispensable information. Using this information, you may be able to discover areas where you can cut back on your expenditures and boost your bottom line.

3. Get a part-time job.

You may already be working your way through school. If so, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back—you are just that much ahead of all of your peers. It may not feel like it at the time, but you are giving yourself a head start.

If you are not working, you may wish to consider a part-time job in your final year of school. You can use it to start stockpiling savings and it will help you to adjust to professional life. It will also take some of the pressure off when it comes to your job search after school. At least you will have something to fall back on for a while if you need it.

4. Find a future roommate.

A lot of people are thrilled to move out totally on their own after school, so the thought of having a roommate after college never even crosses their minds. But really, you need a roommate far more after school than you do during school. If you live with somebody after university is over, you have someone to split rent and utilities with, and sometimes even other expenses as well (like food and gas).

So if there is someone at university that you get on with well and who is going to be living in the same city you will be, you may want to ask them to consider moving in with you for a while.

5. Sign up for a robo-advisor.

One more step which can really help you to get off to a flying start financially is to sign up for a robo-advisor.  A robo-advisor is an automated program that can provide you with personalized financial advice based on the information you upload about your income, expenses, investments and goals.  We recommend signing up for either Wealthfront or Betterment.  How do you decide which is best for you?  Read a comparison review of Wealthfront vs. Betterment.

Saving money in your senior year of college is a challenge, but it is vital that you find a way to start. The money you stockpile can help you with moving expenses and basic costs of living—and can also provide you with a head start paying off your student loan debt!

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