“Many will want what you have, but few will do what you do.” – David W. Robbins, Rich Little Piggy
Becoming financially secure takes more than just earning higher income. It is about doing things which not many are willing to do. It’s about making sacrifices to ensure long term stability. Mark Cuban hasn’t been blessed with a ‘silver spoon’ but worked his way up from selling garbage bags at age of 12, to bar-tending and to having net worth of $3.4 billion (2017) . He didn’t follow through the usual norm of a teenage life – instead, he hustled.
As soon I entered college, I was shocked to find out how much it costs to pay just for tuition fees. It was expensive (even till this day) and I knew I had to make adjustments to my life ethics and lifestyle. Here are 7 tricks that helped me to build the foundation to a financially secure future by college days:
- Start taking odd jobs
- Start saving from allowances and job
- Invest in low risk investment such as ASB
- Share rent with friends
- Eat home cooked meal
- Sign up to programs which gives discount to students e.g. Public Transport Services
Start Taking Odd Jobs
By the time I started the second semester of my engineering course, I did a number of odd jobs such as the food delivery guy, assistant to event promoters and event as booth manager. It didn’t require much skills other than some sales experience.
The great thing about odd jobs is that it pays a lot especially the ones that require you to work during odd hours (after 9-5pm).
I know these kinds of jobs are not for everyone especially when you have a tight university schedule. If you need time to adjust, start by taking an odd job once every month and build up from there once you get the hang of it.
Start saving from allowances and job
Obviously a big part of building financial wealth is to save a portion of your income. In order to save money, you need an idea of how much you can save after spending on your monthly expenses. This requires you to create your own financial budget.
Since creating a budget takes another article to describe, I’d like to briefly suggest to save at least 50% of your income & allowances. If you feel you can save more, the better. However, if you feel 50% is too constricting, try to save at least a third of your monthly income & allowances.
Invest in low-risk investment such as ASB
When you have a comfortable cash value in your bank and a steady monthly income, you can start taking it to the next level – start investing.
Rather than keeping your money in your savings account with little interest/dividends, start moving it to low risk investments such as ASB and Fixed Deposit.
ASB gives return of about 6-7% per annum while Fixed Deposit provide a variety of interest return 2.95-5% per annum depending on banks. The returns are simply too good to ignore and must be taken advantage of.
Share rent with friends
This is a no-brainer. Sharing rent with friends reduces your monthly expense. You can even try Airbnb for one of the empty rooms in your apartment to help alleviate your expenses.
Eat home cooked meal
Home-cooked meal is definitely cheap and if you’re lucky enough to be a good cook, the food would taste almost as good as the restaurant’s standard – if not better. I was an adequate cook back when I was studying in UK. I bought a whole chicken, sliced it into pieces of 6-8 servings (depending on the size of chicken). Cooked it with spices of my choosing and serve them with steamed vegetables. Leave the remaining in the refrigerator and reheat when you are going to eat it. It saved me a couple of days from eating out which could easily cost 2 or 3 times more.
This would be a little bit difficult for college students since we often order takeouts especially during finals or the dreaded deadline submissions. It becomes a little more difficult for those who have no idea how to operate the stove at all. If that’s the case, learn to at least use your flat’s/apartment’s microwave oven and use it to cook since there are a number of websites that offer recipes on how to do it.
Sign up to programs which gives discount to students e.g. Public Transport Services
There are plenty of programs out there that provide special discounts for students. Check out your college boards on student offerings and announcements. It will let you know on how to apply bus/train discounts or which local deli/restaurants offer discounts to students.
There are also state and federal funded programs for students which you should pay attention too. Visit the local district website or office to find out more what are being offered.
Tutoring depends if you have the patience and talent of educating young minds. Being a tertiary student, parents are more willing to trust you on helping to educate their children. It’s a great way to make additional money since education industry has always thrived even in downward economy making it less challenging to find your market.
To be honest, I only did this during my 2nd semester since I needed additional money to help fund my move to another apartment. Another reason I didn’t continue tutoring is due to clash of schedule with my classes and group assignments. However, I’d still recommend to do it regularly as the money is decent and it only takes an hour or two to get it done.
Final Two Cent
Frankly speaking, you need to make sacrifices in order to build up your financial security. You save money when everyone else is spending, you work when everyone is ‘vacationing’. It doesn’t sound comforting at all, but your game is in the long run. While others pursue bonuses and never-ending work to improve their financial position, you’re already well on your way to become cash-wealthy by age 30 – and no, I’m not exaggerating.