America Saves Week

America Saves Week brings together diverse nonprofit, government, academic, and business groups to encourage and support Americans to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. America Saves and the American Savings Education Council provide participating organizations with useful savings tools and resources that use the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to change behavior.

Ascent Student Loans is proud to participate in the 2018 America Saves Week Monday, February 26 – Saturday, March 3, providing different content and tips each day to help college students save money. Want to learn more about America Saves Week, or take the pledge to start saving? Click here to get started.

 

 

2018 Savings Themes & Topics

  • Monday, February 26: Save with a plan
  • Tuesday, February 27: Save the easy way…automatically
  • Wednesday, February 28: Save for rainy days
  • Thursday, March 1: Save to retire
  • Friday, March 2: Save the extra
  • Saturday, March 3: Save as a family

Three Ways to Cut Costs in College

By Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension.

Typically, people think of spending—not saving—while in college. It’s true that once you choose where to attend school, your tuition and fees costs are fixed. However, at many schools tuition and fees may be less than half of your overall costs.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public four-year, in-state costs in 2015-16 for students totaled $19,189 and tuition and fees was only 46 percent of the total costs; room and board was the remaining amount. Add in other costs, such as fun, clothing, and toiletries, and tuition and fees is an even smaller percent.

You can save money on these “other” costs while in college. Let’s look at three strategies used by college students and you can choose which one fits your lifestyle the best!

Small Items Add Up

We often pay attention to large purchases, but may not notice when we spend small amounts of money. However, small purchases that we make regularly do add up, and it can make a big difference over time. Look how much these purchases add up over a year. Do any of the following expenses resonate with you?

  • One snack item a day, at $1.25, is $465.25 in a year
  • Parking meter charges for eight hours a week ($8.00) add up $416.
  • A pack of cigarettes a day ($7.50 per pack) costs $2,737.50.
  • Lunch out five times a week ($8.00 per lunch) costs $2,080.

Multiple these amounts times four years of college and the amount to cover these costs is significant. Stepping down how often you incur these costs helps. Think about what small costs you have regularly and what action you’d like to take to save money.

Big Expenses Matter

Rent, internet fees, insurance, and cell phone plans are common, big dollar items for college students. Before signing a contract for any of these items, take time to comparison shop. For example, apartment leases vary significantly in college communities depending on where the apartment is located, amenities, size and more. Decide what you specifically need (versus want), compare prices, and consider alternatives before you sign a lease.

University of Illinois’ Tenant Union’s A Quick Guide to Renting Apartments has a housing cost comparison worksheet as well as an apartment hunting checklist that are both excellent tools to help you save money. Don’t forget to also comparison shop for other big expenses.

Plan Your Discretionary/Fun Spending

College is a wonderful opportunity to try new experiences and have fun. You want to have your money last all year so that you can continue to have fun in the spring, and not run out of money in November! Plan how much money you can comfortably spend each week. Here are some tried and true student strategies:

  • Decide how much you want to spend on Friday night (or for fun during the week) and carry cash for this amount. When the cash is gone, the spending stops.
  • Keep receipts in an envelope and add up the amount each week.
  • Use a budget sheet like Making it On a College Budget,or one you customize to fit your needs.
  • Use a budgeting app to track spending.

Here’s a bonus saving strategy! Peer Educators from University of Illinois Extension’s Financial Wellness for College Students program have compiled 55 Ways to Save Money from their own experiences. Take a look at this list and circle 10 or more tips that you can implement!

Whether you pay attention to small amounts, comparison shop for big items or plan your fun, you can spend less while in college and ultimately save money for yourself. Using these saving strategies will allow you to set aside money in a savings account for those unexpected costs and opportunities that are sure to arise. College is the perfect place to build your saving habits—you can do it and reap the benefits.

Ways to Get Cash

 

Over $50,000 in Scholarships
We’re giving away over $50,000 in scholarships this year. We offer a new scholarship every month – no essay required. Enter for a chance to win our October scholarship.

 

Earn $525 for Each Friend You Refer
Ascent’s Refer A Friend Program helps you earn money to help cover the cost of college and other expenses. You can earn up to $525 for each friend you refer, and your friends get paid too! Learn more and start referring today.

 

Ascent Rewards Program
Ascent Rewards is an easy cash back program designed to help you earn cash from making purchases at over 50,000+ of your favorite stores. You can accumulate cash rewards and make payments with Ascent Rewards. *

 

1% Cash Back at Graduation
If you choose the fund your education with an Ascent Student loan, you can apply to get 1% Cash Back on the principle loan amount at graduation. See full details.

Tips to Plan & Pay for College

 

Guide to Paying for College
Our Guide to Paying for College has key dates and tips to help you master the complicated and ever-changing world of financial aid. Download your free copy now.

 

Finding the Right College & Major
See how your major and college choices measure up – Ascent’s Bright Futures™ Engine powers students to evaluate the return of their educational investment by comparing the expected salary with the cost of attendance.

 

Meet Your Student Loan Sidekick
Chipper is a loan management app that encourages you to tackle debt in a smarter way by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and applying those extra cents to your highest loan amount each week.*

 

Superpower Your Spare Change
ChangEd securely links to your credit and debit cards, then rounds purchases to the next dollar and send that extra change to the loan servicer.*

 

* Ascent Funding, LLC affiliates are participants of Ascent’s Partner Program designed to provide additional resources for students and their families. Ascent Funding, LLC receives a small commission for every user who clicks on one of the partner links and signs up to receive the services offered through Ascent’s Additional Student Resources page. Ascent is not responsible for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the partner sites or reliance on any information provided on the partner site. The use of the partner site, and in some cases the mobile application, and your reliance on any information on the partner site is solely at your own risk.