- Take control and accept responsibility
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to overlook your finances when there are so many other challenges to overcome and adjustments to make in college life. But you can’t start adulthood with bad money habits, and college is a great place to decide to take charge of your economy and be responsible with your money.
Even if your parents continue to pay some of your bills, such as tuition and room and board, you should work out a plan with them to transfer control of your other expenses to you. From the start, you must have a solid, well-thought-out financial strategy in place — with you at the helm.
- Make a budget
This is critical. You must calculate the total amount of money coming into your life from all sources, including parents and relatives, financial aid and scholarships, student loans, and any income from your employment. Then you must calculate your expenses: books, bills, toiletries, entertainment, and so on. Put all of the categories and numbers into a spreadsheet and try to balance everything, leaving some money for emergencies and, if possible, savings. There are online tools available to help you with this step.
- Get organized
Establish your Financial Management Assignment Help structure. Open a bank account or join a credit union so you can write and cash checks, use a debit card, use an ATM, make deposits, and begin a savings account. Fees should be compared and shopped around for the best deal.Banks are constantly introducing new fees for previously free services. Inquire about overdraft protection, online banking, minimum balances, and other topics.
Many colleges have payment systems for on-campus events and cafeteria food. Determine the best and most convenient method for setting up and funding your various accounts, both on and off campus. Ascertain that you have a dependable method that works for you and provides you with access to your money at all times.
- Keep track
Make a routine for yourself that includes regular financial accounting. You’ll soon have a very clear picture of your financial situation if you keep careful records of what you’ve paid out and what you have left in your account(s) to cover the remember of your monthly expenses.
This financial self-awareness is essential for staying on track. It’s not necessary to know every detail down to the last penny, but knowing when you can hit the ATM for a few extra dollars and when you need to curb your appetite for an expensive meal off-campus will make your life easier and allow you to focus on more important things — like your grades.
- Protect yourself
When it comes to your money, be selective. Leave no cash lying around. Be wary of classmates, friends, or others who want to lend you money or who have great ideas for how you should spend yours. Keep an eye out for identity theft, especially if you shop or bank online. Consider forwarding financial mail to your parents’ address.
Prepare for the unexpected by keeping a stash of cash in a secure location for emergencies. Also, avoid paying fees for overdue library books, parking tickets, and the like.
- Look for ways to save money
Use any student discounts offered by local businesses. Look online for student discounts on travel, food, books, clothing, and entertainment. Before going shopping, clip coupons and buy generic whenever possible. If you have a meal plan, don’t spend extra money on food, especially fast food. Wait for the next blockbuster to be released on DVD before borrowing it from the library. All movies will eventually be free. Use Skype to call home instead of using your phone plan.