College can be a challenging time for a variety of reasons. From scheduling to classes to extracurriculars to even social time, it can be difficult to stay on top of it all. This includes finances. The “poor college student” cliche is well known, but it isn’t one every college student needs to be represented by.
Here are a few modest ideas that can help college students be a little smart with their money while going to school.
Be Smart with Credit Cards and Don’t Carry a Balance
College can be a good time to start smart financial habits, like not carrying a balance on a credit card. Make it a point to only purchase what you know you can pay off within a given month. Not only does this keep you from paying exorbitant interest fees, but it creates a solid and smart financial habit for after a student graduates.
Know Your Credit Score
There are numerous free credit score monitoring systems (and some included with certain credit cards or bank accounts). By starting to monitor your credit from the first time you get it, you’ll be able to create smart routines of checking your credit report each month and watching for any inaccuracies.
In addition to monitoring your credit and paying off your card(s) each month, setting a realistic budget is a great way to not only keep yourself out of financial trouble, but to set quality financial routines for the future. Check your statements each month!
Work if Possible
If you find that you do have extra time to devote to work, do so. This will allow you to rely on your income for some expenditures instead of student loans.
Borrow The Right Amount
Student loans are a hot topic lately and remain a necessity for some students who are attending college. Be sure to borrow only what you actually need in a student loan so that you don’t overextend yourself right out of the gate.
Being mindful of your finances is the first step in continuing healthy financial habits after you leave college and into your career. Be smart about it and check your statements!
Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James, and they are subject to change without notice.