I've never had to manage and budget money before. What are some tips for managing my money in college?
Managing Your Finances
College is a critical time for establishing and practicing smart financial management. How you manage (or mismanage) your money during this time can have long-term effects on your finances and credit. Smart money practices are key to a strong financial future.
For some students, college might be the first time they open a personal bank account. Banks offer several types of accounts to meet different customer needs. Many banks offer low- or no-minimum balance student accounts with little to no monthly fees. When opening your account, be sure to ask about a student account. Checking and savings accounts are the two most common types of bank accounts.
Checking Accounts: Checking accounts provide easy access to your money for everyday purchases with a debit card or checks. When you open your account, ask about a free student account and make sure you will not be charged a fee if you do not maintain a minimum balance in the account.
Savings Accounts: Savings accounts accumulate interest on funds that you have saved for the future.
If you will be attending school in a different state, be sure to find out if your bank has locations in both the Baltimore area and in the area where you will attend school. Some smaller banks have locations only in certain regions of the country. You want to be sure that you can access your money whether you are in school or at home during vacation.
When you use a credit card, the bank or company that issued it lends you money to make a purchase and requires you to pay it back with interest.
Many college students get into financial trouble by accumulating debt they cannot pay back. It is generally best to avoid getting a credit card until after you have graduated from college and are working full-time.
If you must have a credit card during college, only charge what you can pay back in full each month. Once you carry a balance (by not paying what you owe in full each month), you will be charged interest, which will increase your debt significantly and quickly.
High amounts of credit card debt will negatively impact your credit score, and can impact your ability to do things like purchase a car or rent an apartment.
Once you are on-campus, you will probably receive some type of offer to sign up for a credit card. Credit cards often seem like a great idea to college students with low funds, but be sure to use credit cards with caution.
Want to Learn More About Managing Your Finances?
Smart About Money (SAM) is a FREE online resource offering finance courses on a wide range of topics, along with tips and information about managing your money in a smart way. You can find out money basics, decide what to do with graduation money or make a plan, for renting your first apartment.
Be sure to check it out!