Back to Blog

Five Financial Accounts for College Students to Save Money

College Student Holding a Piggy Bank and Graduation Cap

It’s never too early to start setting money aside, whether it’s for retirement or a major future purchase, like a home or car. For you college students and other youths out there, here are the various savings options available to you, including savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and specialized student accounts.



This is your standard savings account, the most common and most accessible savings option. They offer a secure place to stash your cash and watch it slowly grow over time.

The main benefit of a savings account is that you get a better interest rate than your checking account but can still access your money whenever you need it. If you think you’ll need quick access to your funds, look for a savings account with no minimum balance and no monthly fees.



Money market accounts, also known as high-yield savings accounts, are another option. These accounts also give you access to your money at any point, but typically with a higher rate of return. Unlike a savings account, though, you typically can write checks out of your money market account. Usually, you’re limited in the number of checks you can write, debit card transactions you can make, and transfers you can send each month.

One small drawback of a money market account is that you often need to keep a minimum balance (say $500). Some money market accounts can offer tiered rates, which means the more money you have in the account, the better return you’ll see on your deposits.



Certificates, also known as certificates of deposit or CDs, are a particularly good option for longer-term savings. They typically offer higher rates than both savings and money market accounts and require a minimum balance.

Why do you get a better rate with a certificate? When you deposit your funds in a certificate, you lock in your money for a specific period of time, meaning you can’t withdraw it until the certificate term is up. This can often range anywhere from six months to five years. This way, the bank knows it will have your deposits on hand for a set amount of time to fund its lending and other investments. Sometimes credit unions and banks offer certificate specials to attract deposits and give you a great rate.


Piggy Bank

Grow Your Savings

With a VSECU Certificate, you can watch your savings grow and secure your financial future.

See our rates



Commonly referred to as IRAs, individual retirement accounts allow you to save for retirement with tax benefits. Which tax benefits you receive, or rather when you receive them, depends on which kind of IRA you open. There are two main types of IRAs:

  1. Traditional IRA: In a traditional IRA, the money you invest into your account is tax-deferred, meaning it won’t get taxed until you withdraw it during retirement. The benefit here is that you’ll typically be in a lower tax bracket by the time you reach retirement, allowing you to reap the tax benefits at that point.
  2. Roth IRA: For a Roth IRA, you are taxed on the money you put in, but that’s it. If you meet certain conditions, no more taxes after that. Your money is allowed to grow in your Roth IRA tax-free, and you can withdraw your savings in retirement without paying taxes on it.

No matter which IRA you choose, there is an annual limit to how much you can contribute to an IRA (it varies from year to year). The closer you can get to the maximum contribution, the better off you’ll be down the road (if you can think that far ahead!). Don’t worry if you can’t contribute the maximum, though—any amount makes a difference! The sooner you start saving, the longer you have to watch your money grow.

Now that you know the main difference between the two most popular types of IRAs, your next step for consideration is, what type of investment do you want to hold in the IRA? The IRA itself is not the investment but the tool that holds a type of investment such as a savings account, money market funds, stocks, bonds, or certificates.

Depending on the type of investment you hold in the IRA, there may be risk without a guaranteed return.

There are other investment opportunities as well. I’d suggest speaking with a financial advisor to understand what your options are and what makes sense for your financial circumstances!



College and even high school students typically don’t have a ton of money to their name, not having entered the workforce yet (or not having worked for very long). As a result, some financial institutions offer savings accounts designed specifically with a student’s financial situation in mind. These accounts most commonly have low or no fees and a lower or no minimum balance. It’s possible the account could also come with a slightly better savings rate or even some support for your financial literacy and money management, like budgeting apps and other resources. With these safety nets in place, student accounts can provide a safe and convenient place to save for those in college or in their teens.

Woman Reclining in Chair

Boost Your Savings

Get simple tools that’ll help you save.

Download the eBook
Nick Bohlen

About Nick Bohlen

Nick Bohlen is a communications strategist at VSECU, sharing ideas and information with staff, members, and Vermonters. When he’s not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring Vermont’s great outdoors with his wife, daughter, and dog.
Reading on Phone

Stay informed

Stay up to date on financial tips, tricks, and tools that will build your financial literacy and help you live a more prosperous life.

Subscribe now!