10 Financial Tips for College

Stuff you actually need to know!

1) Use loans as a last resort.

Loans must be repaid, so carefully review your options and be on top of when and how you must repay each. Falling behind on payments hurts your credit score for the future.

2) Submit a new FAFSA every year.

Apply early (available after January 1st) for the best chances of getting what you need. Even if you don't think you will qualify based on the previous, apply anyway, because even a small change in circumstances can impact eligibilty.
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3) Make school your first job.

Having a part-time or even full-time time job during college is rewarding, but a college education will give you the biggest payoff down the road. Schedule work time around your school work, and if you do get a job, ask your financial aid office if it will affect your eligibility for financial aid.

4) Compare apartment versus dorm costs.

Many believe living off campus will be cheaper, but there are many expenses that com with apartment living. You must also consider that many landlords require a minimum 12-month lease.

5) Pay the rent on time.

Being on time with payments is extremely important for receiving a good credit score. If you do fall behind, call your landlord immediately. You can also offer to do extra work around the property to cover costs if you are really low on money.

6) Set ground rules with your roomates.

Will you split the cost of food or buy your own? What if one person wants to turn up the heat and the other doesn't? What if one of your roommates moves out before a lease expires?

If you don't discuss now, you could end up up paying a lot more later.

7) Resist peer pressure.

Never spend money you don't have by taking steps like writing down your long-term goals to keep you on track, finding low-cost activities, keeping tack of spending, and being able to say "no."

8) Create a budget...

...and stick to it. Take advantage of simple but powerful tools like budgeting worksheets.

9) Avoid credit card pushers.

Many college students fall into the trap of credit and end up with overwhelming debt and horrible credit scores. Don't be afraid to ask for a lower limit. And chew on this - A major U.S. university recently reported it lost more students to credit card debt than flunking out!

10) Net worth is no the same as self-worth.

Money isn't everything! Look at money as a vehicle to get you to where you want to go, and manage it well. Cut out pointless expenses, avoid borrowing money at high interest rates and don't forget to save and invest.

Good relationships, strong values, and doing what you love will always be priceless.
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