Your first year of college is going to be filled with many financial obligations. You will of course have tuition and you are likely to have room and board if you are living anywhere on or off campus. There are going to be other expenses as well that come up in the moment and that can be a very bad surprise. For those that want to keep control of their monies, consider the following as five great tips to helping you stay on financial track while away from home.
1. Avoid Credit Cards
One of the first and most important lessons that you can use when you go to college is to avoid the use of credit cards. Yes, credit cards can be great and having one or even two is not a bad thing when it comes to developing credit. However, many predatory lenders see first year students as potential bait and will often try to take advantage by offering bad deals disguised as good. Rather than open every credit card you are eligible for and potentially ruining your credit, try to avoid opening new credit cards that you do not need. The temptation can hurt you more than the benefit boost you.
2. Look for a Part-Time job
Another great way to make your money work for you while you are in your first year of college is to take on a part-time job. This should never interfere with your school work or your academic pursuits, but having a part-time job even for only a few hours a week can greatly help you and your financial picture. Many times, too, colleges will encourage part-time positions that are located right on campus. Therefore, talk with the school’s student outreach or employment services center in order to help streamline the employment process and find something that works for you and your schedule.
3. Buy Needs, Not Wants
No matter where you are in your life, financial balance is important. This is especially true for college freshmen. That is why it is so important to make sure to only buy what you need and not what you want. This delineation between necessity and desire can greatly enhance your financial picture now and in the future.
4. Talk to a Bank
When you are a college freshmen or are just starting out on your own, it is important that you start learning about money and its many different facets. This can be done through educational trainings and class work but it can also be completed through active engagement with financial institutions that work in this area and field. Therefore, it is recommended that college freshmen talk to a bank or financial institution that they trust in order to start developing a plan for the future. Whether it is a broker that does portfolio diversification or a traditional bank that offers checking and savings accounts to students, talking to someone in the beginning of your college journey and regularly thereafter can help you to build a financial plan that will work for you and your life.
5. Start Saving
You may have gotten a late start to the scholarship game, but your collegiate financial picture does not have to be all about spending. Though this part is easier said than done, no matter what your age, it is important to start learning to save. Even a small portion of your earnings at a job or of an allowance can greatly aid you in building a healthy financial picture for your present and your future. If you do not have a savings plan or account, taking the step to talking to a financial advisor can get you on the path to saving. A little bit can go a long way so make sure to consider this when you are building your financial plan for your freshmen year.