Managing money can seem like quite the process. Especially when you’re in college, and the thought of even checking in on your funds might make you cringe. But effective money-management isn’t difficult, and it can seriously reduce the amount of stress you have when it comes to your finances.
Check out these money-management tips to keep your finances in check:
1. Create a savings goal and track your progress.
Saving money, in general, might not sound exciting, but what if you had a goal in mind to motivate you? Let’s say you want to buy a new laptop. Figure out how much money you want to put aside each month until you’re able to make this purchase, and make sure to track your progress along the way. Forming healthy savings habits like this will help you stay away from wasteful spending, and it gives you a good reason to keep track of your funds.
2. Wait 48 hours before making a purchase.
Do you ever go into a store with one thing on your shopping list, only to leave with a full cart? Those impulse purchases can really get the best of you. Next time you eye something new that you want, wait 48 hours before you actually make the purchase. If the impulse passes, so should you.
3. Check for student discounts and promo codes before swiping your card.
You waited 48 hours instead of impulse buying, but this purchase is still at the front of your mind. Is it time to swipe your card? Not yet. First, check and see if the retailer offers any student discounts. Many businesses actually offer lower prices if you’re able to present a valid student ID. You should also check out if there are any valid coupons or promo codes you can redeem. Sites like RetailMeNot and eBates, or Chrome extensions like Honey, can help you find the best deals.
4. Look at your banking statements and see where you’re wasting money.
Food? Late fees? New clothes? One of the easiest ways to manage your money is to first recognize where you’re doing most of your spending. Then, you can consciously make an effort to cut down on these expenses.
5. Start an emergency fund.
Let’s say you finally purchased that laptop you created a savings goal for. The very next day, your car breaks down, and it’s going to cost you a big sum of money in repairs. Ouch! Unexpected expenses like this happen, but it’ll lessen the blow a bit if you’ve prepared for these situations ahead of time. Start putting aside a little bit of money each month that you’ll only touch when situations like these arise. You’ll rest easy knowing you always have this fund as a safety net.
This article originally appeared on The College Juice, powered by Barnes & Noble College.