College years are the best time to find out how to manage your finances, protect them, and plan for the future. The majority of graduates finish their studies with student debt and spend several years paying it out.
That’s why the sooner you learn personal finance basics, the earlier you will be able to pursue the career of your dreams and live the life you want.
So here we go with the top tips on how to protect your finances at college:
Increase the Security of Your Accounts
Online banking and cashless payments are getting more popular facilitating money management.
Along with that comes the threat of falling victim to cybercriminals and suffering from consequences like identity theft, stolen credit card details, and having online payment system accounts hacked.
Losing your money because of financial scams is not a pleasant thing under any circumstances, especially when you are a student and your income is moderate.
That’s why you need to optimize your online security by setting strong passwords and 2FA for banking accounts, regularly checking your bank account statements, and using powerful anti-malware software to protect from viruses.
Beware of phishing and social engineering by carefully reading the incoming emails. Do not open any links sent by people you do not know, and never give out sensitive details like PINs, and CVV codes.
Last but not least, during the calls or email threads, do not hesitate to stop the conversation and contact your bank using an alternative communication method, if something seems off.
Plan Your Budget
As the saying goes if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and it’s perfectly applicable to personal finances.
Start with the audit of your income and spendings it will help you to see where your money is coming from and where it goes.
Coffee to go every morning may seem to be insignificant, but if you calculate the monthly costs, it can encourage you to give up on an extra cup.
Make sure to write down all the expenses you have, divide them into essentials like paying rent, educational materials, groceries, etc, and expenses you can cut like food takeaway or leisure activities.
Avoid Impulsive Buying
Impulsive buying is something that may ruin your budget, especially when it goes about online shopping.
To avoid it, keep a wishlist and shop with the plan when you come across another seasonal sale.
Unsubscribe from all the newsletters to avoid the temptation to buy something you don’t need, and never shop when you’re emotional.
These tips will help you to protect your budget from unplanned spendings.
Minimize Credit Card Spendings
It’s not a secret that banks want to engage students to open credit accounts.
It’s easy for young people to lose control over the spendings and dive into a full college life with parties and shopping before they understand the interest rates and risks that go along with the credit.
That is why it’s necessary to learn how to manage the credit beforehand, or better put the card away and use it only in emergency cases.
Be Careful with Student Loans
One of the biggest financial mistakes in college is making the wrong choice of the student loan.
So before taking one, do your research, investigate what types of student loans you can apply for, and what have the most attractive conditions.
Also, consider the ways of minimizing the credit amount by seeking some sponsorships, refinancing, and sometimes choosing the less prestigious college as well as finding a job to cover at least some of your tuition fees and owe less after graduation.
The first steps towards protecting your finances while you are learning in college may be difficult, especially if you haven’t done that before however, it’s definitely worth all the efforts because it gives you a solid ground to grow your assets and reach financial freedom faster.