Congratulations on graduation! It’s time to get geared up for college so you can meet new people, discover your academic interests, and welcome some more financial independence. As you transition into college, managing your money well can make your life easier. Here are a few things to think about.
Before you leave for college, create a budget. What expenses will you need to pay each month and what income or allowance will you receive each month? If you receive a lump loan sum for let’s say a 5-month period, make sure to allocate the money for each month. For example, if you get $6,000, that would mean $1,200 per month. Most importantly, don’t spend more than you have in your account. Track your spending each month to see how you’re doing.
2. Savings Goals
If you’re able to, try to save 10% of your income each month. Even if you don’t make a lot of money, the money you do save will really add up. For motivation, determine your savings goals. Would you like to save to buy a new vehicle? How about a summer trip with friends? Or, maybe you’d like to save enough so that you don’t have to take out a student loan for a semester.
3. Checking Account
When you look for a student checking account, make sure there is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. Free online banking is also important as well as mobile deposit capability and ATM access. FORUM offers all of these features and more with our Student Checking. Click here
4. Credit Cards
Do your research if you choose to open a credit card! Watch out for annual fees and teaser introductory rates that change to higher rates after a certain number of months. When you do open a credit card, set a manageable limit (like $500). Try to only purchase specific items with your card (like gas or groceries), and then pay off your bill each month. This will help you establish a good credit score that will impact your future financial life.
When you’ve worked hard to make good financial choices, it’s important to keep your money safe. Monitor your account online to make sure everything looks as it should. You may even want to share access to your account with your parents so they can help you oversee your finances. If you have a FORUM account, you can set up custom text or email alerts as well. For example, if your balance falls below a certain amount, you will be notified.