There are lots of things to think about in college. By just spending a little time and effort on good financial habits, though, you can save a lot of money. That sets you to succeed on campus and afterwards!
Let’s look at some tips you can start with right now:
Start Saving Money Soon
The sooner you start saving, the better! If you have a job on campus or off, you should set a savings goal. Even saving 10% of your after-tax pay will add up during your time in college, but you should aim for 15% or even 20%. Your local bank can offer you a savings account that will help you earn interest faster, but you might not be able to access the money once it’s deposited.
Be Careful With Credit
When you get to college, you might find credit card offers stacking up quickly – even if you don’t have a job! What gives? Banks want to get you started on credit early because it takes a long time to pay off big credit debts. Having some active credit is important, but be careful to use it sparingly and pay off the balance at the beginning of every month.
Always Use Student Discounts
Student discounts are everywhere – from local businesses to museums and other attractions. It’s a good idea to always carry your student ID so you can enjoy these savings and to shop at locations that offer them.
Need Aid? Start With Grants, Then Federal Aid
College can be expensive, and millions of students use some form of financial aid. When it comes to aid, grants (the kind of money you never have to repay) are best. However, these are competitive and tend to offer smaller awards. Remember to check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and fill it out annually to qualify for need-based aid at low interest rates.
Rent Textbooks or Buy Them Used
On-campus bookstores are convenient because you can automatically order materials long before the first day of class. They’re also the most expensive option – that convenience can mean a markup of 30% or even more. Course texts don’t usually change every semester, so look on the Web to find them at a better price.
Personal finance might seem complicated, but if you start with small steps like these, you’ll get the hang of good money management in no time. Those financial skills will help you all throughout life!