Money Management Tips
Things to Consider as One Prepares to Head to College
Know ground rules and your parent's expectations. Your parents can help you out a lot if you end up in trouble, but make sure that you're certain they will before you count on it! Also be sure to understand their expectations for you- Will they expect you to hold a job and pay for everything you'll need on your own, or do they want you to devote all your time to your studies and are willing to help you pay for some things as a result? Understand how much and how often they're willing to help you, as they can be a major influence in your financial life.
Use loans only as a last resort. Pay your expenses with your own money, look for as many scholarships as possible, and if you must take out a loan, only use the money to pay for school. The interest they generate can have you paying far more than you initially took out, so try to keep loans minimal to avoid paying as much interest.
Limit the hours you work at first, and focus on school. The amount you can earn while you're in school means nothing compared to the losses if you fail out! If you do work, be sure to manage your time carefully, and ensure that you have enough time to attend all of your classes and meet with professors. You're paying for this education, and it is important that you get the most out of it!
Use skills and hobbies as a way to earn money. Relaxing when school gets you stressed out can be very important, and often times, people find comfort in hobbies such as making handmade crafts or being around children. If you can make money off of your "down time" by selling your creations (Etsy.com is a website where individuals can sell handmade things, and many people there mention using the profits to help them pay for school) or babysitting, then earn the extra money. (But make sure you aren't cutting into time you need for school by doing these things.)
Prepare for your career. Attending career fairs, preparing your resume, and research companies that offer jobs that interest you. By planning early, you can minimize the amount of time that you spend jobless out of college, and some companies appreciate it when you take interest in them early.
Talk about money issues with your roommate. If you discuss your financial status with your roommate, you can arrange ways for the both of you to save money by doing things such as buying things in bulk and splitting costs. Also, if your roommate knows that you want to save money as much as possible, they're less likely to pressure you into joining them on expensive outings, such as meals at restaurants or lengthy shopping trips. If you're sharing an apartment with your roommate, it is also important to discuss how those costs would be split and what would happen if there was damage or if one individual wanted to move out.
Separate wants from needs. This is incredibly important so that you don't end up spending money on things you want, such as new clothes, and lacking in funds to pay for necessities, such as food, rent, or textbooks, as a result. It also helps you avoid overspending on things- Food is a need, but gourmet food and eating out is a want.
Plug everyday spending leaks, and make the most of your money. This can be an easy way to save money once you separate your wants and needs. Make the most of your money by shopping at flea-markets, garage sales, or thrift stores, and avoid unnecessary costs by avoiding habits such as smoking. Clothes are a need, but new, designer clothes are a want. Smoking is a harmful want that can be very expensive over time.
Be careful of credit cards and credit card debt. Credit cards can be convenient and help lower the risk that you'll lose money by requiring you to carry less cash around. But credit card bills must be paid on time, otherwise the cards can end up costing you thousands. Make sure you know the fees and interest that your card has, and evaluate if any costs are worth it. If your card charges a yearly fee but offers free airline miles, are they worth it? If you attend school far from home and fly frequently, the miles can be worth the yearly cost. But if you don't need the rewards, consider a card with no rewards and yearly fee.
Net worth is not as important as self-worth. Money is not everything. Your mental well-being is far more valuable. Try to avoid stressing out over money too much, and if you find yourself doing so, consider talking to a school counselor. Accept that life happens as well- If you go over your budget, especially due to emergencies, just accept that it happens, and try to think about what you can learn from your mistakes.