When you are a college student, your time is usually best spent focused on your studies and getting an education that will benefit you in the future. One thing that most students forget about however, is properly handling their money. Most students end up leaving college with credit card debt on top of their student loan debt because of their bad financial decisions. It is important that you properly manage your finances while in college if you want your financial future to be as bright as possible. The following tips and tricks will help you get through college while avoiding any financial disasters.
1) Only Use Credit Cards In Emergencies
Once you have your first credit card, it is really tempting to start using it to purchase everything you desire. This is a really bad way to start your college career, and you will most likely leave college with credit card debt when employing this strategy. Remember, no matter how much money you put on the credit card, it will HAVE to be repaid in the future. It is always best to save your credit cards for true emergencies instead of buying things that you really don't need or paying for an event you cannot afford.
2) Pay Off The Balance Every Month
The most important part about using a credit card, is that you must be able to pay off the balance each and every month. Leaving a balance on the card from month-to-month results in paying extra interest charges, and doesn't encourage you to keep your finances in order. By paying the balance off every month, you will keep yourself from getting into credit card debt while you're in school.
3) Pay Your Bills On Time
Most college students only have one or two credit cards, and this is the time that you begin building your credit history. One of the best ways to establish a positive credit history is to continually pay your bills on time. Not only does failing to pay your bills on time cost extra money, in the form of late fees and higher interest charges, but it will also cost you more to borrow money in the future due to a lower credit score.
4) Start Saving Now
Many college students are spending so much money in order to afford their classes, that they forget how important it is to save every month. If you can find a way to start saving money while you're in college, do it. The more money that you can save while in college, the easier it will be to set up your financial future when you are finished.
5) Look For The Best Checking Account
Most students can actually save a great deal of money by looking around and finding the best checking account for their local area. Always look for an account that has no fee for opening the account, and no minimum balance requirements each month. Be sure to also check on any debit card fees and ATM fees as well. Some banks actually offer completely free checking for students, so take advantage of this by showing your student ID and save a bunch of money on the "normal" banking rates.