How to Save Money as a Mature Student

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As of 2020, only 29 percent of Americans claim to be financially sound, leaving 54 percent of individuals “coping” and the remaining 17 percent “struggling” to make ends meet.

People have blamed these figures on eating out, avocado toast and shopping sprees, but the reality is that the financial burden of student debt can make saving extremely difficult, especially for MBA students.

Whether you’re hoping to cut down your loans or save up for the joys of retirement, these tips are guaranteed to help you improve your financial situation.

Try kakeibo, the Japanese art of saving money

Kakeibo is a budgeting journal that was invented in 1904 by Japan’s first female journalist, Hani Motoko, to help busy women manage their expenses.

The first English-language kakeibo guideline book was recently published in Western countries and has since been cited as one of the best money-saving techniques on the planet.

Here’s the top three takeaways to try:

  1. Write down your budget goals
    Sit down at the beginning of each month and write down all your spending and saving goals for the following weeks in the journal. Writing it by hand will help you consider your expenses in a calmer and more focused way.

  2. Divide your spending into categories
    Get specific about which areas of your life you want to save money in, such as food and clothing. Make a clear distinction between your ‘musts’ and your ‘wants’ to help you think twice before you make a purchase.

  3. Use cash
    The act of handing over cash makes it easier for you to realize what you’re spending. Take out however much you’re planning to spend over the week and use it for every transaction. Your bank account will thank you.

Use mobile-first banking apps

If you’re still not convinced about switching back to cash, a mobile-first card might just do the trick.

Alternative digital banks such as Monzo, Revolut and Simple have multiplied in the past few years, and for a good reason: offering free checking accounts, debit cards and phone apps with useful budgeting tools, they are ideal for those who struggle with swiping their card carelessly multiple times a day.

Leave your main card at home and transfer the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend in a week onto your mobile app card; that way, you’re less likely to be tempted on a daily basis.

Cancel subscriptions and memberships you don’t use

How many times have you subscribed to an online trial – whether for a top newspaper or a photo editing app – and simply forgotten about it? Most likely at least once, if not more.

While these trials offer convenient subscriptions and memberships, these perks only last for a limited amount of time and will likely renew automatically and take a large sum of money out of your bank account without you noticing.

Sit down – perhaps with your kakeibo? – and write down all your subscriptions, plus the renewal dates. Cancel those you don’t use and keep track of how useful the ones you keep actually are to you.

Start investing

Look – investing is scary. According to MetLife, in 2019 over half of Americans (55 percent) didn’t own any stocks. Amongst the 8,000 surveyed adults, Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) and millennials (mid-twenties to mid-thirties) opted out of investing more than any other age group.

Experts attribute these findings to fear, as the stock market can be overwhelming for newcomers.

Nevertheless, investing is still a great way to use your money for good and work towards complete financial freedom.

If individual stocks intimidate you, here are three other types of easy investments you can make to get started:

  1. Mutual funds
    A mutual fund is an investment strategy that allows you to purchase a stock with other investors. This is a particularly convenient investment because fees are cheaper, and you don’t risk losing too much if the market takes a bad turn. Plus, stocks are overseen by experts, allowing you to relax and tend to your daily responsibilities without having to monitor them on a daily basis.

  2. Investment websites
    Like online banks, investment websites such as Betterment, Stockpile and Stash are the perfect tool for beginners, as they provide useful advice and tips to start your journey in the stock market. They also enable you to put small amounts of money in individual or shared retirement stocks, making it easier for you to change your investment or opt out.

  3. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
    IRAs are extremely popular among investors. They are easy to create, tax-efficient and full of different investment choices, and are sure to help you maximize your return on investment over time.
Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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