Financial Tips for College Students


So it's no surprise that many kids don't know how to handle money. Their parents wanted only the best for their kids and, in most cases, provided it. But fiscal responsibility sometimes got lost between designer clothes, piano lessons and a cell phone. Most students eventually master money management, but it often takes a few mistakes along the way.

There are many opportunities to spend money and some student's think of money as something to spend rather than as something to save. A student showed up in a new jacket and he said it was a $200 jacket, but he got it on sale and had 'saved' $100. He hadn't saved $100, he'd spent $100. This surprises many students.'"

Some young adults have trouble with credit cards and view the credit limit as an invitation to spend what they consider to be their money. Credit comes from the bank--not grandma. For many, this is a revelation: Banks are in business to make money and customers have to pay interest on the balance if they miss the due date.

Students should use a debit rather than a credit card and to save the receipt. If a student has a credit card, he urges the kid to leave it at home and to not use it unless absolutely necessary. Racking up a fat bill for dinner and drinks with friends and putting it on the credit card isn't a necessity, contrary to what many students believe on Friday and Saturday nights.

Students need to keep an accurate record of expenditures. Basic bookkeeping helps to keep spending in line and underscores the importance of writing a budget and sticking to it. Work can teach students discipline and the value of a buck, but study should be a kid's primary concern when in school. Some students work just for pocket money. This is a bad idea, especially when trying to wrap your mind around differential equations or Chaucer's Middle English.

School days are a time for kids to figure out the basics. In addition to literature, math and science, they learn about sex, politics and how to organize their life. They learn from their mistakes and, on the whole, learn to manage their lives."

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