Feature Story – Fall 2011

10 Smart Money Management Tips for College Students

The average college student graduates with $24,000 in debt, according to the Project on Student Debt. With easy access to credit cards and so many things to spend money on, many students end up owing even more. A little planning can make a big difference. Share these tips with college students you know to get the year off to a good start:

  1. Do the math. Use your money for rent, bills and groceries first. Then look ahead to upcoming expenses to see what you need to save for. This will give you a reality check on how much you have for new clothes and going out.
  2. Pay on time. Make a habit of paying your bills on time, every time, to avoid wasting money on late fees. If your bank offers online bill pay, sign up to save time and stamps
  3. Check your balance. Keep up with your spending by checking your account balance on your pc or mobile device regularly. Look at the available balance and subtract any checks you recently wrote to figure out how much money you have.
  4. Protect your identity. College students are easy prey for identity thieves. Avoid checking your bank balance with a public computer. If you must use one, be sure to log out of your account completely and clear the cache on the web browser.
  5. Wait to buy your textbooks. You may not need every book for the semester. Hold off until you have a syllabus in hand before spending any money. Then shop online, search for open textbooks or print as you go using a service like iChapter.
  6. Use your student discount. Before you buy something you need, find out if there’s a student discount for it. (Search online for “student discount” and the item you want.) You can save money on everything from movie tickets to a new computer.
  7. Get the right meal plan. Buying the biggest meal plan may sound like a good idea, but you may not use it as much as you think. Start with a smaller plan to figure out how many meals you really eat at the commons.
  8. Participate. Colleges offer regular social events and entertainment, which often come with free food. Take them up on their hospitality.
  9. Buy your own T-shirt. Signing up for a credit card just to get a T-shirt is not a good idea. If you need a credit card, research the interest rates and rewards before you commit.
  10. Leave the car. Most campuses are pedestrian friendly, and the cost of gas is high. Keep off the freshmen 15 by walking where you need to go. Ask your insurance agent if this could save you money on your car insurance, too.


Share Article