One Important Lesson To Learn In College: Managing Your Money
For today’s college student, the College Board estimates the annual average in-state tuition cost for public four-year colleges and universities is in the range of $10,000. If you leave the state for school or go to a private college, you can multiply that times two or three. None of those costs include room and board. Not to mention entertainment or other anticipated expenses for the typical college experience. All of this adds up to one of the most important lessons students can—and should—learn while they are in college. How do they manage their money?
Many students don’t earn an income while in school, or the wage they do make doesn’t cover all their expenses. That means living off student loans or generating debt with the anticipation of making money with a job following graduation. It’s not easy to do but it’s a lesson you can fall back on the rest of your life.
Think about the costs: Tuition, books, a place to live, utilities, entertainment, and more.
College is the ideal opportunity to make and follow a budget. How much money will you be spending each month, and how much money do you have? What will it take to keep your financial head above water?
Tuition and a place to live will vary based on where you go to school. If you need to take out student loans, ask yourself if that expensive private school is worth the money you’ll eventually owe, or if starting at a lower-price community college might be a better choice. Another thing you should be doing is checking for scholarships and grants that can greatly offset education costs. There are even some employers that will help cover tuition costs.
Then you need to consider a place to live, food, entertainment and other expenses that are sure to pop up.
Experts recommend that you open an account at a financial institution and use that to help you keep track of your money. A debit or credit card can be used instead of carrying large amounts of cash, and with cards, you can track where you’re spending your money and how much you have left. Just be sure to spend less than you have and to pay your bills on time.
You should monitor your accounts frequently via a mobile banking app or with your computer and online banking features. You’ll even be able to set up alerts to let you know if balances fall below a certain threshold or if a suspicious transaction occurs.
Learning how to manage your money now will help you avoid overdrafts or late fees and can help you learn the importance of living within your means when funds are tight.
Those are lessons that will pay off in the long run.
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