Money Management 101 for College Students

When students go away to college, it is also usually the first they’ve had to really manage their own money.  This can create quite a challenge for a lot of students.  In this post, I’ll review 10 money management tips for college students.

Tip #1 – Create a Budget

The very first thing you should do is create a budget.  At the beginning of each month, estimate how much you have, then estimate how much you will spend on what (i.e. groceries, textbooks, entertainment, etc.) and lastly how much you plan to save.

Tip #2 – Keep Track of Spending

You should make a habit of tracking your spending.  This could be done by simply using a notebook or any other financial software that you might have access to.  If you keep good money spending records, you will be less likely to over spend.  This process will also allow you to evaluate your monthly spending patterns.

Tip #3 – Use Cash vs. Credit

If you decide that you absolutely must have the latest PlayStation video game system or that designer purse, then try to save enough money to pay for it in cash.  While it might seem appropriate at the time to just whip out your credit card without thinking, don’t do it!  In order to focus on developing good money management skills and avoid dealing with credit card debt later, you must exercise discipline and self control.

Tip #4 – Have a Savings Account

I know we touched on this in the “Create a Budget” section, but it is important enough to re-emphasize it again here.  You should always have some cash in a savings account for emergency situations.  Also, make sure you can get instant access to this money if you need to.

Tip #5 – Buy Used Textbooks

Do you really need the brand new version of the textbook?  Probably not…buying used textbooks is a great way to save money and you can still return them at the end of the semester for some cash.  Some campus bookstores are now allowing students to rent textbooks.  Renting textbooks is usually significantly cheaper for students than buying.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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