1. Simply put YOU are in charge of your personal finances. That is all you can control. Money coming in and money going out. How you get your money and how you spend your money is your choice, you are living in the greatest country in the world and enjoy the ultimate freedoms of the good ole US of A. Start with a simple pencil and paper and create a budget.
2. Respect Your Money and Spend according to your financial goals and personal goals. You control your money, determining how you spend or save it. Pace spending and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses like eating out or shopping so that your money can last throughout the semester.
3. Pay cash for most things and use Credit Wisely. Remember credit is spending future money and you haven’t really got a clue of what will happen tomorrow. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit. How you handle your credit in college could affect you well after graduation. Shop around for a card that best suits your needs.
4. Get a Bank Account. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from like check cashing, debit cards, online banking, balance alerts, personal loans, direct deposit, financial education and some offer identity theft protection.
5. Be prepared, look for money before you need it. There’s a lot of money available for students, you just have to look for it. Apply for scholarships and look for student discounts.
6. New is Out. Consider buying used college textbooks or ordering them online. Buying books can become expensive and often used books are in as good of shape as new ones.
7. Entertain on a Budget. Limit your hanging out fund. There are lots of different things to keep you busy in college and most are free to students. Create a meal plan or do appetizers when you do eat out.
8. Be particular when it comes to money. Don’t just trust anyone with your money. Be skeptical of classmates, friends or salespeople that have ideas for your money. Create a plan to meet your first financial goal, an emergency fund – might need $500 or $5000. Depends on what expenses you have already. Car break down, insurance cover it or would you have to cover it.
9. Save. $1 a day – $30 a month. $20 a week – $80 a month. It adds up. Read the Richest Man in Babylon. No matter how small the amount you should start putting some money away immediately.
10. Ask Question, be curious, learn the basics of personal finance. It is a never ending process. This is a learning experience, so if you need help, ask. Your parents or your banker are a good place to start and remember the sooner the better.
Timeless Principals of Personal Finance
Spend less than you earn
Make the money you have work for you
Be prepared for the unexpected