June 17th, 2009 Jamie
It seems like almost everyone is hurting for a little extra money this summer, and with the economy still slouching around like a lazy little brother, it could be that way for a little while. That’s why its time to start thinking a little harder about how you save (and spend) your hard-earned summer funds.
Summer is probably the time of year college students make the most money–and there also happens to be much more temptation to spend it. After all, there is more free time, more freedom, and no homework–what are you supposed to do, sit at home?
Definitely not! But you also have to consider one thing:
Is buying a Slurpee and a new pair of Lucky jeans worth giving up money you could have during the social weekends of a monotonous school year?
Probably not. (Especially the Slurpee part.)
A Penny Saved is a Penny… What?
You may have heard your parents say, “A penny saved is a penny earned!” That particular idiom has never made sense to me, but the basic gist is of it is that if you waste your money now, you (obviously) won’t have it later, when you need it. Here is my advice:
- Put Some Money (and Time) Towards College. If you’re footing your own bills for school, add some of your summer funds to your college savings. Paying now instead taking out loans literally costs less, because you won’t have to pay off the interest. If you aren’t earning much at your summer job, invest some time in searching for and and applying to scholarships as well!
- Stash Some Cash for Fun During School. It is really sad to have to skip a good movie after a week of studying for finals because your debit card has no savings to debit from. Saving some money now for playtime later will help keep you from feeling deprived during the year.
- Learn How to Budget. Learning to budget during summer will be both easy (because you have time to track) and hard (because you’ll want to spend so much more during summer!), but it will really help you out when school starts and the text book costs start piling up. Here’s an article on starting your first budget, complete with worksheet.
- Consider (and Reconsider) Every Purchase. Ever since I started paying my own way I’ve started asking myself “Do I really need that?” before I buy anything from a pack of gum to a new computer. It is sort of an echo of my mom’s voice in my head, but it has saved me a lot of money over the past couple of years. For expensive purchases, I also usually give myself a month to think it over. If I still really want whatever it is–and I can afford it–at the end of a month, I usually take the plunge.
And that, my friends, concludes my budget advice for today. Happy Summer.
photo by gravityx9
Entry Filed under: budget & finances