Money Management 101: Tips for College Students
You’ve moved into your dorm room and are enjoying your new-found freedom. There are no parents hovering around asking if you did your homework or urging you to eat your vegetables. The world is your oyster! You could join student government or the disc golf team. You could go to the library to study for your exam or go out for late-night nachos with your roommate. As you enter this exciting new chapter in your life, just remember what Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” When it comes to finances, the decisions you make as a student can have long-term consequences. Here are some tips on how to manage your money wisely.
Make a Budget
Making a budget might sound like homework, but it’s really an essential life skill. When you budget, you gain a clear understanding of how much money you have coming in, how much money you have going out and how much you have left over to put toward savings or to use on fun things like going out to eat or buying a new pair of sneakers. You can create a budget using the Money Management tool in Landmark’s Mobile App or kick it old school with a spreadsheet. Use whatever system works for you as long as you consistently keep an eye on your finances to make sure you’re not spending more money than you earn.
Think Before Your Swipe
Getting your first credit card can be a great step to building your credit history. A good credit score will be useful when you want a car loan or even a home loan someday. Credit cards can also come with nice perks. At Landmark, we offer credit cards that allow you to earn cash back or rewards like gift cards and merchandise. But it’s important to keep in mind that even though a credit card gives you access to more money, you will still have to pay it back. And you want to make sure you can pay it back in a timely manner or you may owe interest. Plus, if you use more than 30% of your credit limit, it could harm your credit score. Consider using your card for planned expenses each month, like the bill for a streaming service or for groceries. That way you won’t be tempted to use it on items outside of your budget. Read this article to learn more about the benefits and potential pitfalls of credit cards.
Take Advantage of Amenities and Discounts
If you’re paying student fees as part of your tuition, you might as well take advantage of all that includes. Does your college offer a bus pass? You just scored some free transportation! Do you have access to a fitness center? Boom! No need to pay a gym membership. How about a health center? Don’t be shy to get medical care or counseling if you need it. Most colleges are full of amenities, so make use of everything that is available to you. Plus, many businesses offer discounts to students, so keep your student ID handy! It just might save you a few bucks on your next movie ticket, meal or even computer software.
Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re already ahead of the class for taking an interest in your personal finances and reading this blog post! By creating a budget, using credit cards wisely and making the most of amenities and discounts, you’re on your way to building a solid foundation for your financial future.