Starting off with good habits in college, especially good
financial habits, is extremely important to controlling the debt a graduating
college student will have; plus, it builds great financial skills that are
helpful through all of their lives. Numerous experts all agree that a few
basic tips that all freshmen should know can help make the financial impact of
college much more manageable upon graduation.
Don’t fall into the
credit card trap
The coolest giveaway item isn’t necessarily a reason to open
a credit card when you arrive on campus. Look into the card first: What is the
interest rate? What is the limit? What fees are associated with the card? Also,
using a credit card for food, entertainment or other discretionary expenses
isn’t really a good idea. Save the credit card for emergencies and college
Control your costs
Always look for student discounts and perks; many businesses
around campus offer them. Also, be a coupon clipper, looking online and other
places for coupons on the things you might need. One of the biggest ways
to save money is researching the best price for textbooks, an often high cost
item outside of tuition and room and board. Buying used can save up to
50% on books costs.
Being organized includes having a budget for all your
expenses, knowing how and where to avoid unnecessary fees from your financial
institution like ATM fees or overdraft fees, and not having late fees on books
or other fees that can chip away at your budget. And most importantly, use
technology to help with things like making payments on time or monitoring your
accounts for fraud.
Help from parents
The biggest way a parent can help is providing advice and
direction. One good exercise is having a parent create a realistic budget
that you need to follow before arriving on campus, and the key is to be realistic
is what is included. Don’t always ask parents for bailout money.
Emergencies will happen and that is when you need to step in, but a late night
burrito run is not really an emergency.