As many high school grads are gearing up for their college debut, they may not be fully prepared to handle their own finances. Whether you are a college student or a parent of one, these freshmen financial tips can be valuable for your current and future financial planning.
Essential Freshmen Financial Tips
Even if you are the most prepared 18 year old you can be, getting into the real world can be very disorienting. There are temptations, scams, and simple mistakes that can be costly. Here are a few freshmen financial tips to keep in mind during your college experience.
Make a Budget
This is probably the most important tip to follow. From this all else flows. If you follow the budget, you avoid unexpected personal credit card debt. Luckily a budget for a college freshmen staying on campus should be fairly simple.
A monthly student budget of $300 might look something like this:
- Work Study Income: $300
- Academic Expenses: -$50
- Additional Food: -$50
- Clothing, Personal Care & Laundry: -$75
- Savings: -$50
- Travel/Phone/Misc: -$75
It’s all about managing needs and wants. Saving every month for books or supplies will add up so next semester is mostly covered. Eating in the dining hall instead of out for most of your meals is ideal since you have already paid for them. Make sure you continually update the budget. There are plenty of apps to help you stay on track.
Many college students fall under their parent’s healthcare, don’t have a car available on campus, and carry a part-time job. Everything helps reduce expenses on a very low and fixed income.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
There are so many scholarships available to current college students. Once students enter school, most forget about applying for additional grants and scholarships. Take some time out from every semester to apply for more free money!
Becoming a resident adviser or RA is an excellent way to reduce the amount of student loan debt you will need to complete your education. Many colleges provide room & board to their RA’s. This is a substantial amount of savings.
Finally, there may be surveys, research needs or other small income opportunities that you should try to take on while at school. Remember, put your education and studies first. This is the best way to get the most of our investment.
Evaluate Your Education
Are you getting the education you deserve? Is this the right field of study? Would you rather live at home and save on expenses? Always consider your options. When paying for college, you need to make sure it’s living up to it’s promises.
Keep in mind your particular field of study. If you learn that your degree doesn’t have a successful hiring rate post graduation or your future salary will make repaying student loans impossible, it may be time for a major change.
If you need more information about managing student loan debt, call American Consumer Credit Counseling today at 800-769-3571.