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How Much Should I Have in Savings as a Student?

The average university student isn’t usually a money management guru; as multiple studies have pointed out in the past. According to a recent survey, only one in every three college students has saved up to $1000.

However, the fact that most students don’t save money doesn’t mean you shouldn’t too. If you’re aiming for financial freedom after graduation, you should start by amassing money in your savings account.

In this article, you’ll learn how much you should project to save as a college student. Also, you’ll learn some saving tips for university students and how to manage money effectively as a student.

How Much Does the Average University Student Have in Savings?

Knowing the average amount a university student saves in the United States can put you on the right track to saving in school.

Sadly, there hasn’t been extensive research on how much university students save in the United States. So, it’s difficult to definitively quote an accurate average.

However, one thing is certain; most college students don’t save a lot. If you have up to $1,000 in your savings account as a student, you’re part of the top 30% of university students in terms of savings.

It’s important to note that there is a striking difference between how much the average university student saves, and how much a student should have in savings. While this section explains how much they save, the next section will show you how much you should aim to have in your savings accounts.

How Much Should I Have in Savings as a Student?

The main source of income for most students is their monthly allowance. The monthly allowance is usually underwhelming, ranging from as low as $75 to about $250. Some students get much higher than this, but they’re mostly outliers.

However, the amount you should have in your savings has nothing to do with how much you receive as your allowance. Instead, it should be proportional to your monthly expenses.

To determine how much you should keep in your savings as a student, you must calculate how much you spend per month first. Then, you multiply your monthly expenses by three, and that’s the bare minimum amount of money that should live in your savings account.

If your savings don’t come near three times your monthly expenses, you either have to allocate a higher budget to your savings account or lower your living expenses.

If you’re looking to achieve the latter, the next section will show you some creative ways to save money as a university student.

How to Save Money as a University Student

Reaching the savings goal as a university student involves making some compromises to save money on everyday expenses. While it can be difficult to adjust your spending habits, it’s certainly possible, and your savings account will thank you for that.

Here are some money-saving practices you should strive to adopt as a university student for a fatter savings balance.

  • Cut food costs.

You can save significantly more every month if you can spend significantly less on food. If you don’t actively practice cost-cutting on food, you’ll be amazed at how much you’re spending on food every month.

A great way to start cutting costs on food is by setting a reasonable budget, depending on your allowance. We recommend a $100 monthly budget for food if you get more than $200 monthly allowance per month.

Instead of eating out at restaurants, you should try buying foodstuffs and preparing them on your own. Prepared foods are heavily marked up, and you’ll save a lot by cooking your food at home.

Also, buying food materials will make it possible to buy in bulk. It goes without saying that bulk buying makes items significantly cheaper, making you pay lesser for the same quantity and quality of food.

  • Use student discounts.

Now and then, you may need to buy a textbook, a phone, or even computer software. Most retailers offer student discounts that let you get these items for cheaper, as long as you can prove that you’re a student.

Before shopping at any store, try checking if there are any discounts or special deals for students that you can take advantage of. Once you start keeping an eye out for those, you’ll discover that you’ll get one more often than not.

  • Get second-hand items, if possible.

Second-hand items usually have a significantly cheaper cost than items bought new, and in the case of students, they’re almost always available.

To avoid spending unnecessarily, you can opt into buying second-hand textbooks, furniture, and clothes. While these are usually never in the best of conditions, they’re usually passable and last for as long as you’ll be needing them.

  • Get a side hustle.

Your monthly allowance is usually not enough to pay all of your bills, buy the necessary items you need, and have something left over to save. With a side hustle, however, you’ll be more likely to have enough to spare after covering all your basic expenses.

Many side jobs are perfect for students. You can start a blog or a YouTube channel or start offering freelance services on Fiverr or Upwork. If you’ll prefer offline tasks that aren’t very demanding, you can start selling your old textbooks to newer students for some extra income. You may also check some part time jobs for students abroad.


The question of how much money you should keep in your savings account is open for debate, but we think you should have enough money to last you for three months at least.

Most students aren’t very financially savvy, so they find it difficult to save nearly as much as they should. However, that doesn’t excuse poor financial practices, as you’re solely responsible for your financial state.

If you’d love to keep a more attractive savings account, you should consider going through our list of how to save money as a student.

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