Summer is winding down and retail stores are beginning to stock their shelves with back to school items. Soon it will be time for last spring’s high school graduates to pack up their belongings and head away to college.
Starting your freshmen year of college is an exciting rite of passage. It comes with lots of good times and possibly a few bad ones as well. If you are beginning your college experience with very little extra money to spend there are 8 financial tips for college freshmen that can help.
1. Don’t Borrow Unless You Must
As a college freshmen, you may be tempted to join the throngs of students who borrow as much as possible, don’t work, and buy whatever they want. Unless you are gifted with mommy and daddy’s credit card and a nearly unreachable credit limit, this is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, put yourself in a better position to not only start college but to also finish it. Something that will help is to only borrow if you absolutely must. There are other alternatives to getting a loan.
2. Save as Much as Possible
If you haven’t already been saving for college, don’t put it off a second longer. Every dollar you save will get you that much closer to your goals.
Stop spending money on junk food, music, and other frivolous items. Now is not the time to buy everything you want simply because your parents aren’t there to say “no”. You need to save as much as possible.
3. Make a Budget
Something that will really help you start your freshman year off right is to make a budget. In fact, one of the things you probably won’t learn in college is how to establish a realistic budget.
Write down expenses and income for a month to get started. If the numbers do not match, look at items you spent money on that could have been avoided. Trim your budget accordingly.
4. Buy Used Textbooks
Once you have your class list, check on which classes require textbooks. Next, check online or on college bulletin boards to see if anyone has used versions of books you need for less. Sometimes a little extra work and time spent on your part can save you a bundle.
5. Use Student Discounts
Some stores and restaurants reward students with discounts when they go to pay. Although you should also limit your purchases to save money, when you must buy, ask if they offer a student discount.
6. Live as Cheaply as You Can
Start out right by not spending money on extras. Watch every dime until you can get your budget made and see if you have any room in your budget for other wants.
7. Get a Job
Although it has been a few years, I worked all throughout my college years to help pay my way through college. This allowed me to get an education without have to go into serious financial debt. Believe me, once you graduate from college and your loans become due, you will be glad you worked to supplement your income.
There are lots of different choices when it comes to what kind of job you should get. Working on campus will be the most convenient for you, if possible, but there are a variety of different jobs you could apply for.
Deposit your checks automatically into your checking account. When you don’t have to make regular trips to the bank it will save you time and could deter you from spending as well.
8. Use Caution When Getting a Credit Card
When you first get to college you will be bombarded with tons of credit card offers. Use caution in selecting one and even more in using one.
Even though some people don’t believe it to be wise for college students to have and use credit cards there can be valid reasons to do so. However, keep in mind that a credit card is not a money tree. If you get and use one you must eventually pay for what you charge.
As you prepare for yourself for college and all that you will experience, follow some of the 8 financial tips for college freshman and save yourself some money.
Track All Your Accounts With Personal CapitalPersonal Capital lets you see all of your accounts in one convenient place. Sign up now for free.
What other financial tips might help college freshmen?