Being a college freshman presents you with a lot of challenges. For one, it will be the first time that you will be on your own. No dad and mom around to help you out. Being away from the family also means that you will be handling your own money for the first time in your life.
This can prove to be a daunting task for you. But you should have no problems in dealing with money matters if you follow these tips:
1. Use Your Credit Card Wisely
More often than not, the free-spending mindset of new credit card holders gets a lot of college freshmen into financial trouble. And when the high interest rates and annual fees kick in, your quest for financial independence can suddenly turn into a nightmare.
So be smart and responsible in using your credit card. Don’t think of it as like having extra money in your wallet. Understand the terms of the card, particularly the interest rates.
You should also set a budget so you won’t charge any purchase more than what you will be able to pay. And pay on time, as you don’t want your balance to balloon with high interest rates.
2. Learn How to Save
Start saving now. Save all your coins and then deposit it into your savings account at the end of the month. To avoid the temptation of withdrawing your savings, open a savings account with no ATM card.
You should incrementally increase your savings by adding $5 a week or each month. The amount may not be that big at first, but it also helps you get into the habit of saving that would augur well in the future.
3. Don’t Avail of Student Loans More Than What You Need
It’s very common for college students to avail themselves of student loans, but you should not take out loans more than what you really need. Should you need money but concerned with the interest rates, then you might want to check out grants and scholarships instead. These are alternatives to student loans that won’t cause you any financial burden in the future.
4. Get a Part-time Job
If money is a problem, find a part-time job in your school. You can be resident assistant at the library or serve as the mascot of your school. The latter requires no formal training, although you should be creative and able to communicate to audiences using gestures if you are to become the John Hopkins mascot.
Getting a part-time job can give you some extra money for your books, supplies, or to pay off your student loans. Just be sure that the job that you’re getting won’t get in the way of your schedule, as you still have to allot time for your homework.
5. Find a Good Bank
Look for a bank that offers products and services appropriate to your needs. For example, open an account with a bank that has low minimum daily balance requirement. You will also love to bank with an institution that offers banking features like online bill payments, mobile remote deposit capture, and person to person payments. Lastly, choose a bank that has a good branch network in your area.
These are just five tips that you should follow if you want to be good at managing your money in college.