Fall is here, which means students across the country will be flocking to their first college classes and meeting their new roommates in their dorms. If you’re one of those students starting their journey at college, you should read these 5 tips for handling your finances throughout the year:
1. Make a Budget
A budget is an essential financial tool that you need to adopt as soon as possible. It will help you track your monthly expenses and avoid accidentally overspending.
How can you start? One easy way to start is to download one of the top budgeting apps on your smartphone and follow the instructions.
2. Plan for Emergencies
One category that you should always include in your monthly budget is “Emergencies.” Think of problems like urgent trips to the dentist, car trouble, broken smartphones or stolen laptops. These are important problems that you will want to resolve right away.
So, you should have some savings set aside for this. Otherwise, you might not have enough in your budget to cover the immediate costs. Dedicate a portion of your budget to emergency savings every month and add those savings into a separate account. This is your emergency fund. Only withdraw from it when you need it!
What if you don’t have enough in your emergency fund? As a backup plan, you could use a personal line of credit. Go to a website like CreditFresh and see whether you can apply for a personal line of credit. If you’re approved, you could request a withdrawal from the account when you need to cover emergency expenses and then manage repayments later.
3. Get a Credit Card
A credit card is a financial tool that will definitely come in handy during college! Some things will be very difficult to purchase without the help of a credit card. You can use it to cover everything from online clothes shopping to plane tickets for trips back home.
A credit card will also be a good way to start building up your credit score. Take a look at some of the benefits of a high credit score that you will appreciate down the line.
If you’re over the age of 21, you can apply for a credit card on your own. If you’re under the age of 21, you will need a cosigner to help you apply for one. Look for cards that are specifically designed for students. These will have lower interest rates.
4. Use Your Student Card
Your student card can save you more money than you think. It can help you get discounts at retailers. It can grant you access to your campus library, which provides free study materials, WiFi and rentable tech. It can get you cheap or downright free services from your college’s gym, IT department, health office and more.
Use your card to your advantage. You’re not likely to get a deal like this in the future.
5. Get a Helping Hand
You’re well aware that tuition costs a lot of money. If you want to trim down this cost next year, you should complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by the annual deadline. After completing the application, you could find out that you’re eligible for federal grants, scholarships, work-study programs and low-interest student loans. All of these options could make tuition costs much easier to manage.
School is hard enough without having to worry about money. Follow these financial tips so that you can take this stress off your shoulders!
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