What College Students Need to Know About Managing Money

Managing Money In College

What do you think college students should know about managing money?

I always love getting feedback from you guys (positive and negative). I also enjoy learning new things from you.

I recently asked my readers what they wish they knew in college about managing their money and what they would like current college students to know.

I received many excellent responses to this question. Let’s go over some of the submissions:

Let’s see what Rose had to say on managing money in college…

“What college students need to know about finance: That money isn’t magic.

When I started Uni I began with all these loans, gifts from family and so on. Thankfully, I was sensible and sat down and worked out (with my parents’ help) roughly how much money I’d need to spend on food, accommodation (the Uni dealt with all the bills and so on, I just had to pay a set amount to them per term) and created a rough sort of budget so I didn’t run out of money. My flatmates during the first year were the exact opposite. They had the same money I did, or even more but within about 2 months of starting Uni they’d spent everything on clothes they wore once and nights out they couldn’t remember, and were deep into their overdrafts. So thinking ahead and actually planning for the future (immediate or not) would be a good lesson.

Thankfully I knew the basics when I started Uni (UK student) and my parents were more than willing to give me advice if I asked for it.

The one other thing I’d recommend to everyone is tracking your money.

There are all sorts of programs, websites and so on out there for tracking your spending, but if you input every income and expense then you will know when you’re going into your overdraft, I didn’t do this to start with but after accidentally ended up in my overdraft once (thankfully charge and fee free due to my student bank account) I am almost fanatic about tracking my money, as if it happens once I finish then I’ll be charged a lot of money, and who can afford to waste their money on something like that?”

Jenny chimed in with some thoughts on her spending in college

“Budget your expenses. I went my first year of college spending way too much money. I was paying for eating out every night and paying an insane amounts of money my cell phone. Then I smartened up and started cooking at home. I did some research and found a prepaid cell phone plan (TracFone) where I pay $45 a month for unlimited talk text and web. It’s a great plan and I am on my way to saving my money!”

A CreditShout representative wrote in with…

“Take advantage of discounts that local restaurants/bars/stores offer. I usually get 10-20 percent off my purchases everywhere I go. Just ask if there is a student discount. I’ve only been told ‘no’ like twice. And I don’t go back to those places.

Also, try to find a job on campus that is work study. For example, you can get a job tutoring or monitoring a computer lab. You get paid minimum wage and will only work like 8-10 hours a week, but it’s better than nothing. And you get to do homework while you aren’t busy.

Try to write all debit card purchases in your check book so you know exactly what you’re spending and earning.

Once you’re 21, it’s easy to go out every night of the week, but it gets really expensive unless you find happy hour and weeknight specials, which almost every bar has. You just need to do a little research. You can also find a lot of great credit and debit cards aimed to students where you can earn rewards and save on things students buy like textbooks and food.”

College is all about having fun. However, there’s no need to end up in huge debt just because you didn’t want to follow a few easy tips.

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