Managing Your Money in College

We know college is a huge expense, especially if you don’t get a lot of scholarships or grants. The average yearly tuition can be anywhere from around $10,000 to $25,000, and that’s just for a public four-year college. Getting financial aid can be a huge help and students should focus their efforts there. However, they shouldn’t forget they will still need to manage their money well in order to not go into more debt than necessary!

However you get your funds, from scholarships to loans to a job, make sure to live within your means. Don’t spend the money just because you have extra from your loan that didn’t all get used up on tuition and books and rent. Everyone needs to enjoy themselves a little bit, but don’t go wild. Save now so that you don’t have to keep living like a student after you graduate.

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If you find yourself running out of money, go to your college’s financial aid office. They can often help you find more sources of funding. Just remember, taking out loans should be a last resort! You don’t want to add more to your debt than you already have, if you can help it. Similarly, be careful with your credit cards. A lot of them can have high interest rates, and it’s so easy to spend money that you might spend too much too quickly without even realizing!

Use a money management tool like Microsoft Money or Mint.com to record your spending. You can keep track of how much you spend on needs versus wants. Everyone has had to figure out how to balance the two at some point in their life! The sooner you start, the sooner you can take control of your spending habits! Budgeting will help a lot, and you can try other helpful things too, like the envelope system. Every month, you keep just enough cash in envelopes for things like food and gas, and only spend what’s in the envelope for those categories. A system like this can keep you from overspending.

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Start working on good money habits now so that it will be easier for you as time goes on. You’ll feel much more prepared for life after school if you already have a head start on knowing how to manage your finances! Making payments on debts like student loans can help your credit score, but not if you’re behind. There are plenty of apps to help you budget and stay on track. For another step in the right direction, check out our Journey Accounts for young adults. If you have any questions, leave us a comment or come talk to us in person at any of our branches!