How to Build A Cushion In College
I️ spent much of my college years failing to plan properly for my cushion.
Looking back, if I️ created an exit plan, I️ could have avoided some big do-do-donts.
Going to college in my hometown, literally down the street from my house, I was concerned about helping at home, more than creating a small cushion for myself #firstgenproblems. Although I can't turn back the hands of time, I thought I can give you some #ifIknewthenwhatIknownow advice.
Here's how you can create a small cushion for yourself in college:
Ahh, you made it to college. As a first-year, you must get acquainted with college life and comfortable with setting goals for your wallet early! That’s because the more you prepare a game plan for what you desire, where you want to go post college and where you see yourself financially, you can work towards your goal.
I️ promise it's not as cringe-worthy as it seems. Catching a coin early and stashing a little away at a time will go a long way. I PROMISE building a cushion for yourself will pay off and create stability for your self once you graduate. Are you ready?
If you are working a job, it’s important to calculate your fixed and variable expenses for the month. These may look like:
Insurance (renters, car, etc.)
Tuition (if you have to pay some funds out of payments) I️
Gift/Donations payments (yes, because maybe through your journey, you help out at home)
Personal care items
Fuel / public transportation costs
Clothing & shoes
Work lunches & snacks
Tobacco / alcohol
Recreation and other hobbies
Hair care / salon services
Supplies (magazines, books etc.)
Once you have know your expenses magic number you can determine how much you can afford to put aside weekly for your cushion. Keep in mind this cushion is for a long term goal, to help you have some stability post graduation.
To get started saving, you can put aside $35 weekly, over the course of your school year in order to stack. Why $35? Its a little bit over $20, and it's not too big of an amount to start building weekly. Remember, you can fluctuate this number for your liking.
Typically the school year is from August-May. Most students can began saving through the months of September to the end of April. If you save from September to the end of April, that's 30 weeks of saving! $35 saved for 30 weeks ends up being $1,050 in total savings. If you do this each year up until your graduation, whether it's four years or five, you can have a stash of a whomping $4,200 or $5,250.
That's a nice cushion to help you move to another city, prepare a security deposit for your apartment, or develop a cushion to continue to stack on. If you keep adding coins throughout the summer (13 weeks), you can add $455 more to your stash.
Want to go bigger? I'm not going to tell you not too because it's ultimately about creating a cushion that works for you! You're more than capable of doing of setting your number. When you find it:
1. Set your savings number to save consistently for seven months;
2. Commit to stacking this for the duration of your time in school while you're finishing your degree;
3. Use the summer to add on to the stash; and
4. If you're a side hustler who does hair, Djaying, graphics, etc. you have more access to increase the coins you add to your stash.
Not in college? No worries, you don't have to be in college to catch a coin. No matter your income, you can create a stash that works for you and your cushion goals. Check out my Cushion Trackers to help examine your progress.