College is an exciting era for new high school graduates.
For many, they’re finally entering that stage as an independent adult, ready to experience all that that has to offer. Although there are some young adults who may already know how to handle life and finances on their own, there are plenty more, who upon heading to college, will be put in charge of their money and expenses for the very first time.
Students can quickly find themselves overwhelmed when released from the financial security of mom and dad, forced to manage things on their own. However, by following these four important money tips, college students will find themselves on the right financial foot.
Develop a Budget
Whatever you do, create a budget.
Make a list of your monthly income and then identify all your monthly expenses, which could include everything from food apart from your meal plan, toiletries, gas, school supplies and laundry. You can also use a budgeting software, like Budget Ease.
Try to track your expenses throughout the month and see how much income you have leftover at the end of the 30 days. You should still have some money leftover, if not you need to adjust your spending habits. Budgets are great for making sure you don’t spend what you don’t have.
Open a Credit Card and Use it Wisely
You’re most likely going to be bombarded with credit card offers upon graduating high school. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as now is a good time to open a card and start building credit.
However, it’s important to use these cards wisely by only purchasing small, daily items that you know you can pay off in a timely manner. Still, if you can start now, you’ll have great credit by the time you graduate.
Find a Good Bank and Open an Account
Part of becoming financially independent is opening your own checking and savings accounts. When starting this process, your first step should be finding a bank that best meets your needs as a student. Look at the various account options a bank has and decide what is best for you. Furthermore, take into account the bank’s location; if it’s important for you to talk with your bank in person, then you’ll want to find something close.
Be Smart About Expenses
There are certain expenses you just can’t avoid as a student, like books and school supplies. However, when you’re starting out the best thing you can do is shop around.
Campus bookstores rack up the prices of college textbooks, ergo it’s better to shop online at places like Amazon or opt to rent textbooks at sites like Chegg. The same goes for school supplies. Be sure to shop multiple locations before buying the things you need. Moreover, don’t stop with just school supplies when shopping around; now is a great time to learn how to shop smart for all your expenses from groceries to personal care items.
College brings students a newfound independence that has always been exciting. While certain aspects of that independence, like your financials, can be a bit overwhelming, by simply following a few key tips, you can create a solid financial foundation.
What are some of your money tips for students just starting out?- Kayla