15 Money Management Tips

Every College Student should Know!


Deciding your future after high school is often seem as a scary and intimidating task to over come. But following my 15 most important money managing tips will help you stay on track and make the challenging decisions ahead easier.


#1 " Get Organized"

Being organized is a very good habit to have while dealing with the overwhelming amount of financial paperwork and documents. In high school you have a binder and a notebook for each class to help you stay organized and on top of things. This method of organization can also be applied to financial work. You should have a folder and a notebook to record and keep information organized. To help stay organized you should also categorize by different types of financial paperwork. A way to split up documents could be...

- savings and investments

- college

- financial aid

- loans

- credit records

- insurance

- receipts

- taxes

#2 "Protect Your Information"

"Do not allow another person to spend YOUR money and use YOUR credit cards."

1) Do not give anyone your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number unless you know why the individual needs them

2) Do not throw away papers that reveal important financial information on them (cut them up or use a paper shredder)

3) Do not send your credit card number over the internet unless you know the website is safe. You must be extra careful when you are purchasing items online.

4) Keep your credit card and ATM receipts in a safe place

5) review your credit card statements and telephone bills for unauthorized use

6) Always report identity theft or suspicious behavior (weird bills)


Identity Thief Official Trailer #2 (2013) - Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy Movie HD

#3 "Do Not Bounce a Check"

Note: "Bouncing a check can hurt your credit history and effect you for years to come"

Definition: A bounced check is a check that cannot be processed because the writer has insufficient funds. A bounced check will often be returned to the writer with a penalty fee for non sufficient funds.

Note: Your bank may notify other banks about your check-bouncing habits and this can cause them to refuse banking services to you in the future.

How to avoid this problem?

- before sending a check make sure to record it in your checkbook register and subtract it from your balance

- Do not assume that your account balance at the ATM is correct because some of the purchases may not have been processed yet.

- Always compare the checking account statement sent from the back to your own checkbook calculations


#4 "Take time NOW to prepare for a career"

Note: Having a job in college is great because it helps you prepare for the real world and enables you to get ahead. But do not forget that your education should be the main priority. Even though you might not have a job there are some easy steps you can take now to prepare for your first job.

- No matter how far off graduation seems to be, always attend on-campus interviews and career fairs

- Take advantage of the career center

- Get your resume ready

- Use online job resources to research companies that have jobs in your field of interest

- Figure out the salary of jobs your research, include taxes

- learn hoe to analyze benefits

Career Networking Tip - How to Get the Most Out of Career Fairs

#5 "Choose a meal plan and stick to it!"

Note: Many colleges provide students with the option of a meal plan, provided in the cafeteria. If you have a meal plan you should use it! In the long run it will allow you to save money. Eating out at restaurants is very expensive and not a financial smart move.

Also try to save on snacks; instead of buying snacks from a vender machine, buy them from a grocery store and save them in your dorm room. Buying food in larger quantities will save you money over time. Make sure to check with the college if you are allowed to have a small fridge in your room before purchasing snacks.

#6 "Use the Dorm's Computer instead of buying your own"

Yes, you do need a computer for school but it is not necessary to buy your own expensive one. Colleges understand that students need to be able to access the latest computing technology. For this reason many universities provide computers for their students.

Note: Some colleges require the students to bring their own computer

Things to consider if you bring your own laptop... (Negative aspects)

$ Cost $

- Software

- Maintenance and repair costs

- frequency of use

- Convenience

- Busy times

#7 "Compare your living options (Dorm vs. Apartment)"

Myth: College students often believe they will save money if they live off campus

Before making a decision where you live you must balance and review the negative and positive aspects of both living situations. The costs for off-campus housing can add up quickly. So to decide if it is going to be cheaper to live in the dorm or off campus you should consider the following.

- rent

- utilities

- phone

- internet

- cable

- food

- laundry

- transportation

- renter's insurance

- household furnishings

- pets

- gas

- parking fees

The Cost of Dorm Living vs an Apartment

#8 "Set ground rules regarding money"

Things you should do and consider..

1) COMMUNICATE with your roommates about money issues

- this is important if you are sharing an apartment because there are many money issues involved and ways to share the costs.

will you by the food together? Or share the bill at the end of the month?

- how will you share other household staples?

- What if you disagree about the temperature? If a roommate wants to turn up the heat?

-What if one of the roommates damages the apartment? and the landlord refuses to return your security deposit?

-What if one of the roommates moves out before the rent is due?

Important: these issues can cost a lot of money

Need to COMMUNICATE...put agreement in writing and have everyone sign it

#9 "Resist Peer Pressure"

Note: Many students feel pressured by college friends to spend money that they do not have and can not afford.


1) Write down all long term goals and how a college education will help you reach them

- read them often and remind yourself WHY you have made the financial commitment

2) Go with your friends to free or low cost college events

- ex: lectures, dances, sporting events, movies

3) Keep track of how much you spend on EVERYTHING

- if you are spending more then you can afford then you need to make CHANGES

4) Do not be afraid to say "NO, I can not afford to do that"

- many students do not have a lot of money but few want to emit it

- being honest sends a strong message to your peers and friends

- shows you are confident and responsible


#10 "Separate needs from wants"

To save money one must be able to separate their needs and their wants

EX: Food would be a need but a large latte from Starbucks would be considered a want

Yes, after cramming for a test, coffee sounds like a need but gourmet coffee is a want

EX: A cellphone is a need for personal safety but custom ringtones and apps are a want

When faced with the hard decision of whether or not the item/object is a need or want; you should consider the following...

- Can you live without it?

- Can you afford it?

- How important is it to you?

- How does it improve your life?

- How does it affect you?

#11 "Take control of your credit card"

Note: If you decide to get a credit card make sure to manage it wisely

Important steps to take...

1) Keep only ONE major credit card

2) Shop around for a card that has...

- no annual fees

- lower interest rate

- 20 to 30 day grace period

- avoid cards that charge a one time processing fee and cards with low introductory interest rates that shoot up in a few months

go to... bankrate.com

3) consider purchasing a credit card that's secured by a bank deposit

- can help you get used to handling credit while building a good credit history

4) DO NOT charge anything you can't pay for right away

- if you have a real emergency, allow yourself three months to repay the charges

5) mail the payments several days before they are due so you will not be charged a late fee

- pay the entire balance

- if you can not pay in full then pay more than the minimum due to keep interest charges down

6) Credit card = loan

- before you use the credit card take a moment and think "would I really go to the bank and take out a loan for this."

7) Subtract your credit card purchases from your checking account

8) DO NOT use a cash advance from a credit card unless you have a serious emergency

#12 "Build good credit"

Note: "Good Credit" means that you pay your bills on time and you repay your loans as promised. A good credit record will enable you to take out a loan if you want to buy a house or car.


1) Pay basic expenses, ex: rent and utilities on time

2) make loan and credit card payments on time

3) pay loans before you spend money on other purchases

4) apply only for the credit you need

why? if you apply to often, lenders might think you are financially troubled


Note: Credit reporting agencies keep track of you debt and how you pay your bills

- they usually provide this information to businesses when you apply for a loan or job

#13 "Get help if you get into debt troubles"

Are you in debt trouble? Lets find out!

1) you do not know how much money you owe. yes or no

2) you use credit cards to pay normal bills. yes or no

3) you borrow from one credit card to pay for another. yes or no

4) you make only the minimum payment on you credit card bill. yes or no

5) you miss payments or you pay bills late. yes or no

6) creditors telephone you to ask where their money is

7) you get a job just to pay off your credit card. yes or no

- If you answered yes to more then half of these questions, it is time to talk to someone!


- dorm's resident advisor

- financial aid officer

- psychologist

- contact a nonprofit debt counseling organization

ex: national foundation for credit counseling (www.nfcc.org)

- parents and guardians

#14 "Pay yourself first"

- A way to save money is to get in the habit of paying yourself first.

- This means you first put money in your savings account before you spend it on other things such as bills

- DO NOT worry about the amount you start with

- every penny counts! and if you stick with this plan it will eventually add up

- also, if you save it in an account that earns interest then it will grow even quicker


-include savings as part of your spending plan or budget

- have your employer automatically deduct money from your paycheck and deposit it into a savings account

-pay any tax refund, raise, bonus, or gift you receive into savings, NOT spending

- put 1$ a day plus loose change into a jar and count it up at the end of the month for your savings account

- set GOALS for your money

- set aside some money for emergencies

#15 "Learn about your options for saving and investing money"

Note: Bank savings account is only one of the many places to put your money. You can also invest your money in mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and real estate.


Savings accounts:

- offered by banks and credit unions

- low minimum deposits

safest places to put your money and earn a guaranteed rate of interest

government insured

Money Market accounts:

- offered by banks, credit unions, and mutual fund companies

- work like checking accounts

- pay higher interest rates than savings accounts

- require higher minimum balances

U.S. savings bonds:

- when you buy a savings bond, you are loaning money to the government for a set period of time

- government agrees to pay you a specific interest rate

- higher than a savings rate

Certificates of deposit (CDs):

- loans to the institution from which you purchase them

- typically offer higher interest rates

- require you to keep your money in them for a set period of time ( 6 months/ 1 year)


- small pieces (shares) of the company that issued the stock

- over a long period of time, stocks tend to generate higher rates of return

- risky


- loans to the government agency or company that issues them

- promise to pay interest on your money until the bond matures

Mutual funds:

- you pool your money with other people's money and become part owner of a portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets held by the fund