40 Tips Poster

By: Allie Withee

Take Charge of Your Life

Take charge of your financial life by making a plan and setting goals. By doing this, you make your money work for you. It will end up benefitting you in the end if you work towards these goals and successfully complete your financial plan. This will also keep you from excessively spending and from buying things that you don't really need. By making a goal and plan, you have something obtainable to work for and save towards.

Three steps to making this happen are:

1. Define your financial goals

2. Make plans to reach your goals

3. Take action until your goals become a reality

The chart below is an example of how to begin the financial planning process and set these goals for yourself. This will help keep you on track to reaching these goals.

Get Organized

Get your financial life organized by creating a system to help you effectively manage your finances. You can create files for paperwork and important documents so you can pay bills on time. Also, having an organized system with record will help you keep track of mistakes and important dates, like like loan approvals. You can separate them out into different categories such as: Bill Payments, Checking Account, College, etc. By doing this, you will stay on top of things and be able to successfully manage your money.

Use Loans as a Last Resort

Even though loans are helpful and will allow you to pay for expensive things, they also cause you to spend more money in the future. By taking out a loan, you put yourself in debt with an added interest onto it. This leads you to paying a lot more than you actually took out as a loan. In order to save on these expenses. Look for as many scholarships and grants as possible so you can minimize your loans and save more money coming out of college.

Turn a Hobby or Skills into a money-making Endeavor

Being a full-time student in college, it may be hard to get a part-time job on the side to earn a little income. It's especially difficult trying to manage an unpredictable amount of schoolwork and with an unflexible and inconsistant work schedule. Another option to this is taking a hobby or skill that you have and make money off of that. For example, if you are good with kids, you could babysit for some local families. By doing this, you choose your own work hours and still are able to manage school with a job on the side. This gives you the best of both and is a very possible to do.

Compare the Cost of an Apartment with the Cost of a Dorm Room

The cost of living off campus compared to living on campus can cheaper, but often is more expensive. Students frequently think that since the cost of rent is less expensive than living on campus for the year, that is will be cheaper to live there. But they forget about the other expenses such as heat, water, and electricity which are included in the price for living in a dorm. You can decide if it's cheaper to live on or off campus by using the chart below to estimate total costs of all expenses.

Pay Rent On-time

You should always pay rent on time. By doing this, you will build good credit, which will help you out with future loans. If you fall behind on paying your rent, the amount you owe will only continually increase, causing you to owe even more money. If you happen to fall short on money or can't pay the month's rent, make sure you communicate with your landlord to work out an arrangement. Certain options that may come from doing this are making a partial payment and working out a plan for the rest or you could do some extra chores around the building as a deduction to your monthly rent payment. There are options, but it is important to not fall behind on your rent for risk of increasing debt and poor credit.

Resist Peer Pressure

Frequently in college you will have friends that will invite you to go out with them and do things that often cost you money. This may be because they can afford to go out more than you or are money willing to spend their money. But in order to keep yourself on the right financial path, you will have to resist their tempting offers. In order to help yourself out with this, keep a record of how much you are spending and saving because every once in awhile, you may have enough money to indulge and go out with them. Also write down your educational goals so you can refer back to that and remind yourself of your financial committment to college. You should explain your situation to your friends and tell them that you cannot afford to go out with them. Often times, they may not be able to either, but don't want to admit it so they continue to go out. If this is not the case, they should be understanding of your situation and respect that you are trying to save on money for your college education. Another thing you can do is suggest free or low expense activities for you and your friends to do so you can still go out, but not have to feel guilty about the money you are spending.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Often times you can use your student I.D. to get discounts at local pizza places or movie theaters along with other various things. Being a student may allow you to earn discounts and various perks at local stores and typical "hang out" places. Some car insurance companies offer discounts for student drivers with good grade or those who live a certain distance from home and left their car there. Also you can get discounts when flying home or something. There are plenty of discounted options that you should try to take advantage of at college so you can keep costs down.

Plug Everyday Spending Leaks

It is very common that students will make one or two daily expenses that will continually add up over time and end up costing you more money than necessary. In order to cut down on these excess expenses, make sure you keep very little cash on you. The less money you have, the less you will end up spending. Also separate your needs and wants. In some scenerios, you may be able to substitutes what you want for something a little cheaper. It may be desired to have a latté, but having a coffee instead is more affordable and you still get your caffeine fix. You can also look for less expensive options available to you, such as shopping at thrift shops and yard sales, using coupons you find in newspapers and magazines, using your bike or walking to get places, and checking out DVD's from the library. You should also make shopping lists of what you need and stick to it so you don't buy extra and unnecessary things. You should also limit yourself on the number of songs you can buy per month on itunes. Buy doing these things, you will help to limit excessive daily expenses but still live manageably.

Create a Budget and Stick to It

If you create a budget and stick to it, you are more likely going to be able to manage your expenses and not purchase things unnecessarily. A budget it like a map and by writing down how you will spend and save your monthly income, you will be able to see how your money is being used each month. It'll also help you to see where you might be able to cut extra costs and save a little extra.

Get into the Savings Habit

Whenever you are saving money, you are getting your money to work for you, not the other way around. By being frugal and limiting on the money you spend, you will be able to have more money in the long-run and you won't be subject to large amounts of debt. You can teach yourself to save by cutting small expenses and over time, those will add up to a large amount. And by doing this as early as possible, you will be able to reach that large amount of money sooner than those who sart saving late. It is important to get into the habit of saving because then you won't even realize that you are cutting back on certain "treats" anymore. It becomes a habit and a lifestyle that you get accustomed to and it will have its rewards. It'll also help you to accumulate a large amount of money over a period of time.

Net Worth is Not the Same as Self-Worth

Even though money is important, valuable, and helpful in life, it is not everything. Money is a tool to help you get places in life and by cutting costs and expenses, you can save in order to do so. But there are other things in life that are priceless. Having things like strong values and morals and good friends and family can be just as or even more valuable and important as money. It is important to keep this balanced and not let money consume your life, but don't live beyond your means. Keep your life in check and have a nice balanced scale to keep you happy and your life on the right track.