You’ve finally made it to college and you’re probably thinking it’s going to be the time of your life! Outside of all the hard work and studying, there are a bunch of student organizations, parties, campus events, and lifelong friendships built in college. But that’s not all college is. This is your little taste of adulthood before you’re thrown to the wolves. It is meant to give you the tools you need to be a successful adult once you graduate. So start preparing now. Despite what everyone in college complains about, it is possible to NOT be a broke college student. In fact there are five foolproof ways to stay financially stable throughout your time in college.
1. Use your financial aid wisely
Most students are in school on financial aid, which basically means whatever money you didn’t use for tuition will be handed to you by check at the beginning of each semester. You may get a check with a couple thousand dollars on it. Don’t be foolish! Once you get your financial aid check, spend it only on essentials like books and put the rest away for emergency use! Pretend it doesn’t exist, because you never know what life may throw your way and it’s always best to be prepared. The earlier you start this habit the better.
Since you’re pretending like your emergency money doesn’t exist, you need a steady money flow. As soon as you get your school schedule down, start your job search. There are plenty of on-campus jobs for underclassmen and people without cars to start with, but if you’re looking to work more than 16-20 hours every two weeks, find a job off campus and make sure they know your school schedule.
3. Get a college bank account
Now that you have a job, you’ll need a bank account and lucky for you there are ones out there made specially for college students. No annual fees, money limits, or over drafting. Get one…preferably with a bank that has an app. That way you can keep close track of your money at ALL times!
With a steady money flow and a bank account it’s time to learn how to manage. Although treating yourself is okay, avoid blowing every check on miscellaneous items and activities. Know your limit! Every time you get paid, set a budget aside for your daily needs, then add some to your emergency only account we spoke of. Use the rest for the miscellaneous fund. That way you’re never worried about not having what you need and not doing what you want.
5. Set up direct withdrawals and build your credit
As you get older, you’ll pick up a couple of monthly bills, like your phone bill. Set up a direct withdrawal to pay itself every time you get paid. That way you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to pay your bills or having to dip into your emergency money. The most you’ll need to do is monitor it. As each bill is paid your credit score will rise and that’s EXACTLY want you want. By the time you graduate you could have a score as good as your parents.
There you have it! Now that you have the tools of success, all you’ll need to do is sit back and relax. Your money issues are taking care of themselves.
Featured Image Via Briing Me The Pizza Tumblr