As a college student, you try everything you can to save money and improve your financial wellness. That’s why it’s common practice to survive off of ramen and PopTarts and to scour the internet for a PDF of that textbook you need for class. But no matter how much money you save by filling your drawers solely with Cup Noodles, most college students will inevitably find themselves short on cash.
At least that’s what happened to me! So what do you do if you’re strapped for cash and stuck in school? I was frazzled!
My Money Problem
I did everything I could feasibly do to try and fix my money problem. I applied for more jobs on campus, and I resorted to using my bike to get around the city instead of my car (even if that meant an hour-long bike ride to the nearest high school for my tutoring sessions).
Did that help?
Well, after a month of experimenting, all I managed to do was save a couple extra dollars and have a few flat tires. For some reason, my bank account just wasn’t seeing any improvement. I had no idea what to do.
I turned to Google, looking up things like “How to save money as a college student” and “Money saving strategies”. No matter where I turned, websites would give me advice like “Eat out less” or “Save your loose change”. And while I made some of these changes and saw some minimal benefit, I needed something that would improve my financial health greatly in the long run.
My Money Minute
My struggle was the classic struggle of someone not having a handle on their finances. At the time, I didn’t know that most of my spending was coming from daily coffee runs and subscriptions to various services on the web. The only reason I found out about these fees was because I started doing something called the Money Minute.
You see, while looking for ways to save more money on Google, I came to the realization that I wasn’t being responsible with my finances. The only reason I was looking up strategies for saving money was because I had spent it all up in the first place! So I turned to trusty Google again and instead looked up “How to be more responsible with my finances”. That’s where I found Jessi Fearon’s blog and discovered her Money Minute philosophy.
The Money Minute is simple – you take sixty seconds of your time every day and review your transactions for that day. And, just like that, you’re done!
While sixty seconds seem like hardly enough time to do anything, this small habit makes a gigantic difference. By using this strategy, I found out that I was not only spending inordinate sums of cash on coffee and snacks, but I also discovered that I had so many paid subscriptions to things on the internet that I really didn’t need! It wasn’t an automatic improvement, but I was able to fix my spending habits and financial commitments over time.
How the Money Minute Helped Me
The Money Minute helped me solve my main issues of accountability and organization. While I was taking all these drastic measures to improve my financial situation, I wasn’t holding myself accountable to my financial health on a daily basis. What do I mean by that?
Yes, I took some measures into my own hands and stopped using my car. Yes, I applied to more jobs on campus. The bottom line, though, was I never took responsibility for my own poor spending habits. I was coughing up more than half my paycheck every two weeks to coffee, bagels, and scones. And for what? I’m at college – I have free meals in the dining halls! And what was switching to a bike-only routine going to do to my grocery spending? Nothing. (In fact, I probably spent more on snacks since I was peddling everywhere!)
The Money Minute forced me to sit down and confront these bad habits. It helped me realize just how much money I was spending and that I needed to be better! It showed me that I was being irresponsible.
One of the reasons I wasn’t responsible was because I lacked organization. If I knew that I was spending so much money on groceries, maybe I could have noticed my poor habits earlier and changed my spending patterns! On top of that, if I was organized enough, I probably would have realized that the other half of my paycheck NOT spent on groceries was going to unnecessary subscriptions and pointless newsletters.
The Money Minute benefited me here, too. After adopting the Money Minute philosophy into my daily routine, I grew accustomed to using a budget! My daily financial check-ins turned into a systematic, monthly method where I was keeping track of all my transactions and subscriptions like a responsible adult.
I’m happy to say that I have more than enough money now to spend a little – but not too much – on coffee every once in a while. Oh, and I’m driving to and from places again (although I do get out and ride my bike now and then).
Sometimes the greatest benefits can come from the slightest of changes. The Money Minute helped me reform my spending habits and improve my financial wellness. Struggling to save money and looking for a way out? Spend just sixty seconds looking over your finances. You won’t be sorry that you did!