If you’re like many college students, the second month of school is when the money crisis really starts to hit. The Christmas money is running out and Spring Break is just around the corner. Never fear-there are some great apps and some tips that will help you save money and keep a budget for the new semester.

First, always save your change! Every time you buy something for $1.25, put the other 75 cents in a jar of some kind. Right before a big purchase or trip, take the change you’ve been collecting and have it turned into bills. You might be surprised how quickly the change adds up! When I interned in D.C. last summer, I turned all my change into bills right before the trip-it was $85! The key to remember is that a little bit goes a long way.

Two, see if your bank has an app that lets you track your spending. These can usually be found on their website, and allow you to itemize your purchases based on what they were for, such as groceries, eating out, or entertainment. If your bank doesn’t have one, then the app Mint can be downloaded on your smartphone and synced to your bank account. You can then itemize your purchases based on type, and see where exactly you’re spending money.

Three, set a budget for yourself. Sit down with a list of all the money you make in a certain time period, and a list of all the bills you need to pay and purchases you make during that same time. Make sure to include all the important things such as gas, rent, and grocery money as well as the incidentals like coffee, going to the movies, and going out with your friends. Add up both of these columns, and you will see a more accurate representation of where your money is going. You may be surprised to learn how much money you spend. Once you know where your money is, then you can determine how much you would like to spend. If you want to save $100 a month for your Spring Break trip, then adjust how much you spend on dining out and going to the movies to make those numbers match up. Once you have a budget you like, stick to it! Post it on your fridge or somewhere in your room where you will see it, and then hold yourself accountable! If you prefer the digital route, the app Left to Spend will tell you how much money you have left in your set time period. This can help you keep on track as well.

Four, if you have a dining hall plan ­use it! You already paid for that food or those dining dollars, so not using it is just letting your hard earned money go to waste. Take advantage of the dining hall as it can really help offset a grocery budget, since you would be eating most of your meals in the dining hall. If your campus has dining dollars (usually paid for with a meal plan and then usable at on-campus locations), make sure you use these as much as you can! It’s the same concept as the dining hall meals; you already paid for it so don’t let it go to waste!

The important thing to remember about saving money is that no app or trick is going to be able to do it all for you. While these might be helpful, making a budget and sticking to it is all up to you! One thing that can be especially helpful is if you keep in mind why you want to save the money. If you’re going to the beach for spring break, print out a picture and tape it to your bathroom mirror to remind yourself to keep on budget! Use whatever tricks work for you!


Summer is officially in full swing.  It is now time to soak up some sun and save up some funds.  Summer is a great time to work as much as you can and also save as much as you can for the upcoming semester.  There apart are two challenges of the summer job; finding the job and passing up social opportunities. 

May is the best time to search for a summer job as, it provides more than enough time for the interview, drug screening, and your transition back home. Don’t fret, because it is June!  There are still plenty of opportunities out there. You are going to have to look a little harder, be more creative and be more aggressive.  A job will not just fall into your lap.  Approach every avenue you can and look for possible opportunities.  The best positions during the summer are those that are related to your major and career path and seasonal positions designed especially for the summer. In addition, consider strategies for coping with unfair job termination fallout, as resilience and adaptability are crucial in navigating unexpected challenges.

Choosing a position within your major or career path will allow you the opportunity to get hands on experience and learn the day-to-day operations of the position.  Having an opportunity like this will require you to reach out to a number of offices and sell yourself.  Positions like this may not be posted, may be found through word of mouth, or they may need to be created.  You may also have to volunteer.  Ideally you want to get paid for the work that you complete; however sometimes gaining the experience is far more valuable than earning a check.  Also look at your credit requirements, as you may be able to use the experience towards class or internship credit. 

Seasonal summer positions are always great for students, because they are designed just for the summer and students need work just for the summer. Look at local YMCAs for day camp programs, explore the local ice cream parlor, and even look at local kid hangouts.  Working at a camp is a great options as there are a variety of camps; including religious, sports, academic, and special interest.  Research and see what is offered in your area, local parks and recreation centers, and colleges.

Once you start working, you should approach each pay check as an opportunity to save for the upcoming year.  Each semester you will need money for books, food, and other responsibilities.  Learning to save now and live on a strict budget will teach you discipline and will help you later in life.  If the item or venture is not a necessity and you can live without it, you should consider forgoing it.  Starting the semester with as much money as possible should be your goal each semester.  You want to ensure you have all of your needs met throughout the semester and not have to scramble each month to pay your cell phone bill.  Some students are able to work during the summer and winter break so they do not have to work during the semester. Others have to pay their way through school or contribute to the rising costs of tuition.  Working during the summer with an end goal in mind will help you stay on track.  Write out a list of goals, so you know what you are aiming for and what you will need to do to achieve the financial goal.  If you don’t already have one, be sure you open a savings account to help you stay focused and not spend. 

Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy not having classes, papers, and assignments. It is also a good time to work and prepare for the year ahead.  Taking a few days to yourself at the end of the semester is suggested.  It allows you an opportunity to regroup and have some down time.  After a few days, you should implement your plan and start preparing for what is in-store next. If you work hard now you will have the opportunity to play hard later.