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 needs only.
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.
Organization is important
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.
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Categories: College, Credit, Education, Planning