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How To Build An Emergency Fund As A College Student

If you think you can put off starting an emergency savings fund until after graduation, think again. One surprise injury or hospital stay can drain your bank account and prevent you from working on income-generating activities. An emergency fund is essential for college. But how can you build an emergency fund on a student-size budget? If you’re struggling while in school, you’re not alone. We compiled a list of 5 simple ways to help boost your emergency fund, even while attending classes. 

Five ways to build an emergency fund as a college student

It’s completely possible to build an emergency fund as a college studen, even if your income is less than stellar. From calculating student loans to deciding what to eat, college students like you have a lot to consider when it comes to saving and spending. Fortunately, building an emergency fund while you’re in college isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here are 5 ways to get started: 

1. Use your free time to freelance

Freelancing is a great way for college students to earn money for their savings account while in school. It enables you to create your own work schedule and acceptas much work as you can handle. Plus, you get to make your own payment terms and only work on projects that are meaningful to you. Lastly, freelancing is an excellent way to get some experience in your field while still in school. 

2. Work hard over the summer

If working during the school year puts a strain on your grades, then commit to working hard over the summer. If you were planning on working part-time, consider a full-time position instead. Don’t burn yourself out, but put in a few extra hours at work over summer break, and your savings account will thank you. 

3. Prioritize savings

On top of learning advanced subjects and earning a degree, you’re also learning how to budget and live within your means. One of the tricks to building an emergency fund that many adults don’t do is prioritize their savings. Put aside a certain amount of money every month as if it were a bill, and you’ll have a sizable emergency fund in no time. 

4. Get a high-yield savings account

Most savings accounts will come with interest, but online banks and student accounts often offer better rates. Student accounts may come with features such as overdraft protection, cashback potential, and access to a line of credit for school-related expenses.

5. Automate your savings

Automating your savings helps you save money without even thinking about it. Many banking apps have automatic settings that enable you to move a certain percentage or dollar amount of your direct deposit as soon as it hits your bank account. If your bank doesn’t offer this feature, don’t sweat it. There are many apps to help grow your savings by setting goals, rounding up your transactions, and even investing a little bit at a time.  

Every cent counts

It’s okay if you can’t make a large deposit into your savings account every two weeks. Saving a little bit of money is better than not saving any at all. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are working toward building a financial buffer to give you a leg up throughout your college career and beyond. Creating good savings habits now is a skill that will follow you throughout your life and help set you up for success no matter what the future holds. 
Even though it can be hard to save money while you’re still in college, everyone should have an emergency fund. There are many ways that students can earn extra money if they know where to look and are willing to put in the effort. If you have a little saved, a lot saved, or none at all, keep on working toward your goals and use these tips to help you if you get stuck along the way. Learn more about earning money while taking classes at the University of Redlands.

About the Author | Magnus Eriksen is a copywriter and an eCommerce SEO specialist with a degree in Marketing and Brand Management. Before embarking on his copywriting career, he was a content writer for digital marketing agencies such as Synlighet AS and Omega Media, where he mastered on-page and technical SEO. 

By Magnus Eriksen
Magnus Eriksen