Saving at College: How One Student Encourages Saving on Campus

By Leon Moukendi, Junior in Business (Accounting and Management) at Wiley College. Leon was one of the leaders on Wiley campus during America Saves Week 2014 and encouraged many of his classmates to save money and take the America Saves Pledge. Read the full report of what Wiley did for America Saves Week here

The key to financial success is being aware of how you’re spending your money. It is important to mention that it is not always easy for a student to commit to save. Many of us get caught up with the trend of living beyond what we can afford.

We tend to buy the latest car available, expensive phones with costly services, eat in restaurants, and so on. All of these factors make us live beyond our budget and eventually get into debt. However, when you realize how important it is to create a budget around your finances, it will be easy to solve unforeseen situations that can affect you financially.

Saving is important for students because it helps them graduate college without a huge financial burden. College is that time where a student shows his/her financial maturity to the extent that he/she can track their finances, know what type of loans are affordable (if they are on financial aid), as well as how to manage wisely their financial aid while still enrolled in college. These concerns are not unique to Wiley students. Like in any other college in the United States, Wiley students are confronted with the same dilemma.

It is critical for students to embrace financial literacy - enabling them to increase their knowledge of why and how they can live a financially stable life while still in school. Many students rely on financial aid, and most of them leave school with loans. As a result, they risk damaging their credit if they default on these loans. When students become aware of their finances, they will think about successful ways to save for their future. For example, students can save their tax refund checks and use that money to pay down student loans. 

As an institution of higher learning and a historic black college (HBCU), my school, Wiley can help make a difference by maximizing awareness about saving and money management - making more students financially literate and able to make wise decisions. 

How Wiley College Encourages Saving

This year at Wiley College, students embraced financial literacy during America Save Week. My peers and I held open discussion sessions where we explored a variety of themes relating to finances such as saving, credit score, budget, student loans, student life-style on campus, etc. Through these discussions, we agreed on a variety of steps that can help us and our fellow students to save more while we're still in college including:

  1. Avoid buying the latest car in the market
  2. Make use of public transportation
  3. Subscribe to a basic phone package
  4. Shop in stores where there are student discounts
  5. Legally download free music instead of buying CD’s
  6. Avoid purchasing unnecessary school supplies
  7. Eat in the school cafeteria instead of spending money in restaurants
  8. Enjoy free college events

I think that if these steps are implemented, a student can save more and live without debt while still in school. As far as I am concerned, saving became a priority for me not long ago. Thanks to these discussion sessions and public awareness campaigns, I realized how saving my money could spare me from incurring financial problems if I am confronted with an unexpected situation. These open discussions also became a wakeup call for some of my peers who firmly decided to open up savings accounts and get control of their finances. I have learned that I can save more if I avoid going regularly to restaurants, choose an affordable phone, and so on.  As a student leader on campus, I act as an example to my peers and share these tips with them. I hope that it can help change their attitude and behavior about saving.