10 Money Management Tips Just for College Students
Posted By Shelby on August 23, 2018
The old cliché of being a “broke college student” is cliché for a reason ... going to school can be expensive. But living on a student's budget doesn't have to be as bad as it sounds! These ten financial tips, geared especially for college students, are easy and well worth your consideration. With a little bit of knowledge and few simple adjustments, you can forget about being a cliché and live your best college life instead.
1- Keep a CalendarUsually, making a budget is #1 on any money management list. However, for a busy college student with dozens of different pulls on your paycheck every month, using a calendar to sort your expenses is a great place to start. Take a monthly calendar and fill it in with every bill that is due and also any recurring spending you want to budget (for example, date nights). Having every expense laid out in front of you on a calendar will help you better gauge how much money you have, when you have it, and how much you'll need to save before next payday.
2- Adjust Automatic PaymentsOnce you know where and when your money is going, take a few minutes to assess, set up, and adjust any automatic payments you may have already set up. Are you always forgetting to pay for your utilities? Is an Apple Music subscription really necessary? Do you have enough budget for your phone bill to be deducted on your first paycheck or should you call and ask your provider to change the due date for later in the month? Making these minor tweaks can make the difference between incurring overdraft fees from your account going into the negative and your account remaining positive.
3- Open a Credit Union AccountBanks charge fees. Free yourself from fees by opening a credit union account instead. Another bonus? Many also offer higher interest rates on deposits into your checking and savings accounts. Many universities have their own affiliated credit union for students and offer substantial incentives to bank with them. If your school isn't one of them, there are plenty of unaffiliated credit unions anyone can join that also offer some great benefits.
4- Cash in on Credit Card PerksNow, we all know how much money we can lose by using credit cards unwisely. It's not a pretty picture. That doesn't mean you should shy away from credit cards altogether, especially when doing so can actually be quite lucrative. With the right rewards credit card for college students, you can find yourself saving a lot of money with any number of perks, including:
- Gift cards
- Monthly or year-end cash back
- Free travel
5- Ditch the DriveSave money on car payments, gas, and insurance, get your daily exercise (warding off the “Freshman 15”), and reduce your impact on the environment by not buying or driving a car. It may seem a little unfeasible at first, but once you think about it, there are plenty of ways to make it happen.
- Move closer to school and work
- Take advantage of student discounts on public transportation (and study during your commute)
- Buy a used bike, skateboard, scooter, or roller blades
- Take online classes
6- Save Serious Cash with Student DiscountsMany retailers and service providers are aware of a college student's lean budget and want to help out by offering some significant discounts. For everything from clothes, electronics, and personal services to entertainment, travel, and even tuition, companies are lining up to win over their scholarly customers. If you don't see a particular company on the list, just ask! Oftentimes businesses have unadvertised markdowns for students.
7- Borrow or Buy UsedTextbooks, furniture, clothing, tools, sporting equipment, baby gear, luggage, cooking gadgets, toys and games, musical instruments, home decor, movies, and party supplies are all items that may not be worth your money to buy new. Borrow or buy used instead in order to save yourself a bunch of bucks!
8- Download a Mobile AppThere are many incredible apps available for every aspect of your money management, some even geared especially for college students. Try one, two, or a few! You may be amazed at how easy (and fun) balancing your budget can become.
- Pluto Money Tracker & Planner: Tailored to your own unique finances and spending habits, you can set goals and complete simple challenges with this app. It also allows for anonymous comparison to similar peers so you can see if your spending is “normal” or not.
- Splitwise: Now you can more easily share bills with your roommates and split tabs with your friends.
- Sallie Mae: Keep everything on track by making and managing your student loan payments.
9- Find Financial AidTake a few minutes to talk personally to your financial aid advisor or check out the financial aid information on our website to see if you are eligible for free money from the government or other organizations. Stevens-Henager College has grants and scholarships available to those who qualify. Or, you may find scholarships faster and easier than ever when you use a scholarship-matching platform such as Scholly. You'll receive a targeted list of scholarships and grants that are uniquely suited to you and your education situation.
10- Protect Your Personal InformationThis is an important one. Protecting your personal data will help to reduce your risk of identity theft. If someone gets a hold of your credit card number, bank account number, social security number, or other private information, the consequences can wreak havoc on your life for years to come. The Federal Trade Commission has a lot of recommendations for how to keep yourself protected, but here are a few to get you started:
- Lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work.
- Limit the number of credit or debit cards you carry.
- Before you share information with anyone, ask why they need it, how they will safeguard it, and the consequences of not sharing.
- Shred receipts, credit offers and applications, insurance forms, billing statements, expired credit cards, and similar documents.
- Be alert to over-the-phone or online impersonators.
- Don't overshare on social networking sites.
- Only use encrypted websites, especially when on public wi-fi.