Build an Emergency Fund as a Student with These Tips

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As students head to their dorms and off-campus apartments for the start of the fall semester, excitement is no doubt running high — living away from home for the first time is a thrilling experience.

After all, postsecondary isn’t just about academic education. It’s also a crucial opportunity for college and university students to get valuable, sometimes jarring, real-world experience.

For example, everyday over spending might see adolescent banks accounts running low. An emergency — like a vehicle requiring urgent repairs — might soon present itself. If you’re a student, you should get familiar with the types of loans you can apply for while preparing in advance and creating a financial cushion to help alleviate loan dependency.

Read on for four ways that new and veteran students can lay the foundations of a comforting emergency fund this semester — and beyond!

1. Seek out Tutoring Opportunities

It’s safe to say that most students have a subject that they’d consider themselves knowledgeable in — and one that’s undoubtedly associated with your area of study.

Put up flyers and look around online; there are numerous online platforms where student teachers are partnered with younger learners for one-on-one tutelage(digital, or in-person) on a schedule that works for you.

2. Look for a Part-Time Job

Being in school on a full-time basis is undoubtedly a job in itself. That said, if possible, try to carve out a few hours each week that can be dedicated to a part-time job. 

To put this notion and its efficacy in perspective, the average pay per hour for a barista is $14.79 USD, plus an average additional $20 per shift in tips. 

If you were to work for five hours on a Saturday morning, you’d take home $375.80 (before deductions) every month. After just a few months, you’d be well on your way to creating an adequate financial buffer.

3. Curb Spending Unexpected Cash

It’s hard to show restraint when we receive unexpected cash, whether it’s an unanticipated win, or a generous birthday or holiday gift from a relative. This is especially true at college or university when the temptation to indulge in takeout, drinks and new clothes is at an all-time high.

Show a little restraint and put aside financial gifts — or at least a portion of them — into a high-interest bank account, or an account with a no-fee digital bank.

While not as fun as splurging in the moment, you’ll surely be glad you kept some cash aside when your car won’t start, and you’re eager to get home to your family for Thanksgiving dinner.

4. Sell Unwanted Goods

There are loads of online hubs where you can sell old textbooks, clothes you’ve fallen out of favour with, and used electronics.

If you’ve noticed your apartment is starting to look a little overburdened, it might be time to sell online and make a little extra cash in the process.

The Bottom Line

As a hard-working student, it can be hard to prepare for an emergency; they can pop up at any time and without warning. By putting in the extra work hours, selling items that are surplus to requirement, and showing a little restraint with unanticipated cash gifts, you’ll have a comfortable emergency fund in no time, and once that’s created, extra spending money for a rainy day on campus!

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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