My first year in the University, I saved nothing. I am not joking. I started saving when some folks from Databank came to campus. I actually set up an account with them. That’s when my journey started. I am not rich or anything. I just happen to have more money now than before. I think it is important to save because you don’t know what the future may bring. Using myself as an example, my father’s job failed about four months ago, and for three months I have received no allowance from him. I mean zero from him. What would I have done if I had no savings to rely on? So think about it. I wouldn’t give a lot of examples as to why savings is important. I think this one is enough.
Now let’s get right into how to save as a student.
- Open a bank account: I feel having a bank account is important because it makes you want to increase your deposit. Honestly, it feels good to see your savings increase; especially if you are like me and do not have a lot of money that is for you to spend passing through your hands. You get the idea? I will advise that you have more than one bank account, especially in these times that banks are failing. The older the bank, the better. You can decide to have long-term investments with mutual funds. You can check out products from Databank. I have an EPACK account with them. Their return is pretty cool.
- Make a budget and record all incomes and expenses: This was helpful when I was doing it, till I realized that all my expenses were such that I couldn’t avoid them, so I stopped. But they might be helpful to you. I used an app I downloaded from Play Store; it’s called Money Manager Expense & Budget. There is a place you can make your budget, as well as fill in your incomes and expenses. It prompts you when you are going beyond your budget. It can also let you know what you are spending on- whether it be food, social life or something else. It’s such a helpful tool. Except that you have to make time to fill in the required details.
Having a budget and taking records is necessary because as the management guru, Peter Drucker, will say, “What gets measured gets managed.” When I was not using the app, I believed the lie that I did not spend much. But when I started using the app, my expenditures scared me. It helped me to cut things that I was spending on but were not necessary. For example, I was spending a lot of money on phone credit because I was using my data to watch YouTube videos, and that was not smart at all. Because of the information the app produced, I knew I had to change my ways.
- Be creative in your social life: I saw this point from a blog post I scanned through as I prepared this post. I think it is one way you can really reduce your expenses. This goes especially to those of you who have lovers. Those of us who are professional “gnashers” we may only need it once in a while. You see, there are cost effective ways to chill. Instead of going to a restaurant you can find recipes and cook. It will save you the cost of transportation. You will definitely have more to eat to your satisfaction. Instead of going to some bar where the price of everything is inflated, you can take long walks and have deep conversations. You can jog together. Some of these things cost nothing. You just have to be creative about them. Besides, you don’t want to take someone out, and then return broke. Which one too is that?
- Look at other options: From last year, I have been commuting to campus with my bicycle. Prior to that, I was using ‘trotros’ and taxis. One day I sat down, and calculated my transport cost for the month. I realized I spent about GHS 100 on transportation to campus every month. If I could save this cost it would be free money I could save. So I took some money from my savings and bought a bicycle for GHS 110. It’s been about a year and I am still using the bicycle. I only have to pump the tyre and do some occasional repairs. That’s the mindset I want you to apply to how you spend money. For you, maybe it will be to buy second hand items instead of new ones; they achieve the same goal and have the same utility. You can also decide to download and use PDFs instead of buying the hard copy of textbooks. Why don’t you print PDFs? I didn’t say you should print them. I only asked a question. Printing may be illegal.
These are ways I know can help every student save more. Let me repeat my main points. They are: Open a bank account, make a budget and record expenses and incomes, be creative in your social life and look at other options. I hope you enjoyed this piece. Let me hear from you!
God be with you till we meet again!