5 Tips for Managing Your Money as College Student
While the main focus is, of course, getting a quality education, college also provides a great opportunity to develop the money skills you'll need after you graduate. You can start making smart choices about your money now in order to set up a solid financial foundation for the future. That means building a foundation of financial literacy now.
1. Set a budget.
Learning how to budget and setting financial goals as a college student is important. When you create a budget and track your spending habits you have insight into where your monthly income is going and where you need to cut back. Living on a budget doesn't mean you can never have any fun, it means the fun you do have won't prevent you from paying the bills.
2. Track your expenses.
The easiest way to stay on top of your finances is to track where your money is going. Check out our free downloadable tracker here. You might not realize how much your small, daily purchases add up to until you take a look at your income and expenses.
3. Open a savings account.
A lot of people struggle with this, so it's important to develop this habit early. Pay your bills first, contribute to your savings, and then use a little on yourself.
4. Create an Emergency Fund.
In order to prepare for emergencies and avoid unexpected debt, getting in the habit of always setting aside a part of your paycheck makes it easier to save. Whether it's an essential car repair or unexpected medical bill, everyone needs a chunk of change saved up when larger expenses arise.
5. Have a debt payoff plan.
Once you finish school and the grace period is up, you'll have to start making student loan payments. It is best to set a plan for paying it off before graduation when interest begins to kick in. Here's a tool to estimate your monthly payment post-graduation.