You’re headed off to college, and there’s so much to learn that goes well beyond what you’ll study in the classroom. You’ll learn more about yourself, other people, and general life skills.
A big part of college for many people is that it is a kind of bridge to adulthood, allowing you to test drive some elements of independent living while still getting some support from your parents and other adults in your life.
One of the most important skills for you to develop in college is financial management, and the tips below can help you with that.
1. Consider Student Loans
It’s the foremost question on the mind of most college students: how are you going to pay for tuition and everything else, including accommodation, food, and books?
Fortunately, there are many different avenues for getting tuition money, such as scholarships and grants.
You can also take out a student loan, whether you are attending school full-time or part-time.
There are many different types of loans, and you can do some research to find out what you are eligible for.
2. Make a Budget
Budgeting is one of the most valuable things that you can learn to do as a college student. It’s a skill that you can carry with you throughout your life, and this is a great, lower-stakes time to learn it.
It will probably take you a little while to get things right when you make your first budget because you’ll be working with estimates about your spending.
Go ahead and start with those estimates, but track your spending for a few months as well, either using an app or with your own system.
Use this information to make adjustments and live below your means
In other words, don’t spend more than you are bringing in.
In addition, make sure that you have some money to put aside in emergency savings.
Your budget should not be a strict tool that stops you from having fun; instead, it should give you confidence about what you can spend money on without worrying about not having enough for necessities.
3. Avoid Debt, Especially Credit Card Debt
There are really only two types of “good” debt.
As long as you manage your repayments properly, student loans are generally considered a good idea because of the income boost that a college degree can provide.
However, you will still need to learn how to stay in control of your student debt when repayment time comes.
The other type of debt that’s considered a good one is a mortgage, but as a college student, this is probably not something that’s of concern to you at present.
The debt that does end up being of concern to many college students is credit card debt.
As a student, you may get a number of offers, and it can be tempting to spend it on things like clothes and fun in order to keep up with your peers.
Having a credit card isn’t the worst idea in the world, but you should only use it if you can pay off the balance each month.
Otherwise, thanks to high-interest rates on these cards, that balance can grow quickly, and you could graduate with more than just student loan debt.