Some basic ways to become more financial stable.
Don’t Give Up.
High Interest Savings and Checking Accounts
It is remarkably stupid if you do not have at least a high interest savings account. They are free, and most don’t need a minimum dollar amount to start one. No, you will in no way become a millionaire by having a high interest savings account, but it’s free money. Your bank’s saving’s account is nearly zero a month. A high interest savings would be around 1% a month. The more you save the more interest you get. The more interest you get, the more you can do other things with that interest like invest or use that interest as spending money. I recommend Dollar Savings Direct. I’ve used them for years and never had an issue. Do your research. There are stipulations with high interest checking accounts and you want to read the fine print, but most savings don’t have many or any stipulations. Seriously. Look into them.
Starting a Business?
Try some non-profit help like Score.gov. Score has workshops, webinars, articles, and a variety of other resources that will help you in addition to hooking you up with a mentor. Speaking of mentors, Micro-mentors will set up with a business mentor to help you with any business need at any stage of your business.
If you’re totally new to business and you don’t know how to calculate costs, do market research, write a plan, etc, then look into the small business association in the US. See SBA below.
A high interest checking account I recommend is Chime. Right now they offer 1% and they have no fees. The only drawback of these types of accounts is if you deposit with cash. There will likely be a penalty with any high interest checking accounts and cash. If you don’t use cash then you’re in luck. Check them out: https://www.chime.com.
Money Saving Apps
There a million apps out there to help you save money or invest money. It’s hard to determine what is helpful and what’s garbage, but have no fear, I’ve done my research. To begin with, don’t use Acorns unless you’re investing a lot of money and don’t expect a return for a long time. On the other hand, I do recommend Digit to help you save money. Digit is $5 a month, but, in my opinion, very well worth it. It has an algorithm to save your money for you without you doing anything. You set the limits as to how much it takes out and if you are in jeopardy of over drafting, it’ll put money in your account to prevent an overdraft fee and it will send you a text letting you know. It also gives you 1% interest a quarter unless the economy is bad and that amount will be a bit less but still higher than your bank’s savings interest. You can get your money real time for a dollar penalty or wait two days for free. Go to http://www.digit.co, below if you want to try it out.
Rakuten is by far the best money saving app I have ever used and I cannot believe I didn’t do it sooner. I actually thought it was a scam when I first joined it because when you join they give you $30 for free. Rakuten is an app that just hangs out on your browser and will pop up to let you know if the deal you’re looking at is cheaper somewhere else or if you can get cash back at the current spot you’re shopping at. Then, when you buy something from the place you’re already planning on shopping at anyhow, you get money back. So far this year I’ve gotten about $50 back just from doing normal shopping online, which I think is pretty wonderful, personally. I’m not sure why more people don’t use this app.
Finally, the last one I’ll share for now is Receipt Hog. This app asks you to scan your receipts into the app and in exchange they offer you either cash or rewards for your receipts which is a great exchange for a piece of paper you’ll likely throw away anyhow. The app also allows you to make returns and is very easy to use.
Student Discounts and College Tips
I often hear how furthering your education is a joke and waste of money from those who have never gone to school, but, I am very proud of my college years and hope to have more of them in the future. I do recommend going to a Community College to start since most of them are very flexible and you can transfer your credits to a four year college with little issue. Going to Community College my first two years was less than half what my state school amounts were. When I went to Ohio State for my B.S. I met with my advisor to see if I could go to Community College for any of the other classes I had left to graduate and found that out of the 20 classes I had left I could take eight of them at half the rate and my grades wouldn’t impact my GPA. This allowed me to end up paying significantly less than if I would have went the entire four years there. I recommend you do the same if you are capable.
There are lots of perks to being a student and I find if you are an adult student, they are even better. if you have a student email address or are still a student you can get the below student discounts. This was one of my favorite things about being in college. Most every place will give you a student discount of some kind now when back in the day they would only give movie discounts, the world is much more student friendly these days. Some discounts are garbage like most tech discounts, but some are legitimately great. Below are some I find aren’t worth passing up.
If you are going to join the corporate world, learning Tableau will definitely help you. If you can prove you’re a student you can get Tableau for free instead of the $70 a month fee and you get discounts on getting Tableau Certified.
Spotify/Hulu/Showtime and Itunes or Pandora
A lot of people know you can get Spotify and/or iTunes for $5 a month as a student, but, some don’t realize that in addition to Spotify you can also get Hulu and Showtime included in that $5 price. You will have to show your student schedule and can only get the discount for three years. If Spotify isn’t for you for some bizarre reason, then you can get iTunes or Pandora for $5 a month also.
Yes! My favorite discount thus far and all you need is to provide your student email address. As long as that email address is active you can get prime for $49 a year versus the $99. How great is that?
Do you love Photoshop, Illistrator, InDesign or Pemiere Pro but know they are ridiculously priced? Well, if you’re a student you can get all of the Adobe platforms for $19 a month. All of them. Each one comes with tutorials to help you learn the tools too. Pretty cool stuff.
There are a surprising amount of fitness discounts both gyms and online options. Places like Gold’s Gym, Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, Snap Fitness, YouFit and New York Sports Club offer pretty substantial discounts. Some give up to 50% off membership fees. Always ask your gym or look online like at Daily Burn to see what kind of student discounts they offer.
Students make a big mistake not investing in organizations that will help their future. If you are going into Project, Program, Portfolio or Risk Management you should invest in a PMI membership for three reasons: 1. It’s only $32 a year (without a membership it goes up to $135 a year). 2. Excellent Resources and connections. If you’re in school for this then the PMI Institute is a must. 3. Being a member gives you $100 off the PMP and other exam costs. They will need to see your school schedule and you must show you’re a full time student for the discount.
Travel and computer deals aren’t great but they do give a discount. Check out places like: STA Travel, Airbnb, Amtrak, ISIC Card, Coach USA and Eurail are a few that have some perks and discounts but even United Airlines will give you 10% off your flight if you’re 18 to 22 years old so always check to see what’s available no matter what you’re using when you travel. If you’re taking your kids with you on your trip, tap into their student benefits.
Retail and Restaurants
I won’t go into detail about retail, but there are a ton of places to check out. If you’d like to see a list check out: https://www.thesimpledollar.com/save-money/60-awesome-student-discounts-on-clothes-tech-travel-and-more/.
This is a necessity for me and was completely free. Ohio State gives you free access to up to five computers for all Microsoft Office software. Check to see if your university provides it free. If it doesn’t then Microsoft will provide a discount.