Good money habits are important at every stage of life. Although you may not have as much money as a college student than as a full-time professional, it’s important to develop smart financial strategies to make the money you do have work for you.
While college students primarily focus on studying hard and having fun, making good financial decisions is also an important part of student life. You have to pay for tuition and books, food and rent, plus you’ll need extra spending money on going out or buying new clothes. Here are five tips for managing your money well in college.
Create a Budget
A budget is a great way to manage your money. Even though you may not have a lot of money or your parents pay for things like your tuition and books, it’s important to track your spending so that you have the money for the things you need, when you need them. Try to think of all the little things that come up from time to time, as well as your everyday living expenses. Food, rent, and utilities are all things people must spend money on regularly. But don’t forget to budget for haircuts, eating out with friends, or personal care items. There are plenty of good budgeting apps that can help you get started. Practicing these habits now, while you’re taking accounting master’s courses, will set you up with good budgeting habits for life.
Use Student Loans Wisely
Not everyone has a college savings account to pay for their tuition in full. Students often use financial aid, scholarships and student loans to help pay for some or all of their tuition. While these resources are very helpful at the time, you are required to pay back all students loans in full, with interest, no exceptions. So it is important to make sure you only borrow what you need, and send back any money that isn’t needed to cover basic expenses, such as books and tuition. And don’t forget to include these student loans payments in your budget once you graduate, as you will be expected to start paying them back soon after graduation.
Avoid Credit Card Pitfalls
Credit card companies work hard to get college students studying software engineering master’s courses, to sign up for credit cards. They lure you in with cute prizes or free food, and high lines of credit. But college students don’t need a lot of credit cards – especially if you are sticking to a budget. When you accrue a lot of credit card debt and don’t have the means to pay it off, it will haunt you for years to come. If you do sign up for a credit card, choose one wisely and make sure that all purchases you make with the card are within your budget. Make it a goal to pay off the balance every month to avoid interest fees.
Get a Job
Finding a job while in college has several benefits. It looks great to potential employers after graduation, particularly if you work in your future industry. You gain invaluable experience that can get you in the door once you start applying for jobs. Some companies offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to employees upon completion of their information technology studies. Another great benefit, of course, is the money. It helps pay for living expenses, tuition, and spending money to help keep you on budget. Some students find it easier to go to school part time and work full time in order to keep college debt down.
Open a Checking Account
College students can often get free checking or savings accounts from banks trying to earn their business. This can be helpful for nursing associate’s degree students trying to avoid fees on transfers or withdrawals. Look for a bank that offers the convenience of nearby ATMs to avoid extra fees. It’s important to balance your checkbook as well to ensure you’re staying on budget and not overdrawing on your account.
Applying these tips to your money management while in college may seem a little challenging at first, but it will pay off in the end. Not only will you have established good financial skills, but you’ll leave college without a huge mountain of debt to weigh you down.