College students are known to be broke most times but it is not really all bad. While in school, you have a good opportunity to set yourself up for future financial success. Cultivate the five smart money habits below and avoid graduating in the red and struggling with money for the rest of your life!
1. Learn how to budget.
A budget is essential whether your parents are paying for your college or you are supporting yourself. This teaches you to plan your purchases and mind your spending. Cover your essentials and if there is anything leftover, budget for fun, too. It can be a challenge to live on a college student’s budget but delaying some of your wants until you land your first job will set you up for success as you enter adult life.
2. Start saving.
The earlier you start saving money, the better your financial life will be. Start by saving for your tuition every semester, either by picking up a summer job or acquiring an on-going side job. This saves you from borrowing too much and drowning in interest.
3. Find ways to lower your education costs.
How much money do you really need in student loans? Remember that you will have to pay back every penny you borrow plus interest. Do not be like most students with debt that follows them around until midlife! Consider looking for a scholarship or enrolling in lower priced or state schools to save your budget.
4. Get the right credit card.
As a college student, your best choice of credit card is one with a low rate and credit limit. The last thing you want is to acquire credit card debt in college. Use your credit card responsibly and only make purchases that you can account for in your budget.
Find a job even if your parents are sending you money. A good college job will teach you valuable money lessons and also earn you work experience while in school. More important, an income will help you avoid debt and there is nothing like entering adulthood debt-free!