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Financial Tips for College Students

collegestudentsYou’ve made it. You’ve graduated, moved out from under your parents’ roof, and now you’re ready to start college and kick off some of life’s most memorable years.

As you become more independent, you’ll quickly discover managing your money can be a little more difficult on your own. To help you learn the best way to manage money, we’ve provided five simple financial tips:

1. Monitor your checking account.
Debit cards make purchasing easy. However, you need to make sure you keep track of these expenses. There are many convenient tools to help you do just that. Sign up for Online Banking, Mobile Banking or Text Banking to stay on top of your available balance and pending transactions. You can also sign up for alerts to receive notifications via text or email about activities and reminders for your accounts. These features make managing your money quick and easy – especially since you can access you account information anytime, anywhere.

2. Use your credit card wisely.
If you have a credit card, use it wisely. Essentially, you are borrowing money when you make a purchase, and you will have to repay it. Start off by using your credit card only for emergencies until you get more comfortable making regular payments. Always remember to make your payments on time, pay off the entire balance monthly, and keep track of when you use your card. If you don’t, you can hurt your ability to get credit later when you need to purchase a new car or home after you’ve graduated and started your new career.

3. Develop a budget.
Understand your spending habits by developing a budget. To get started, use this budget worksheet from our Advice Center. First, note your monthly income and identify your monthly expenses like rent, food and gas. Be sure to account for miscellaneous costs like weekend trips, football games, and concert tickets. As you make purchases, record them on your budget so you know how much you are spending. Take note of areas that are a little more flexible, and adjust your spending to help you save. For example, eating at home instead of going out can help you spend less money during the week.

4. Avoid unexpected expenses.
Can you share a textbook with a classmate instead of buying your own? Can you walk to class instead of driving? Do you have a meal plan available instead of eating out at a restaurant? Think about a few adjustments to your usual routine to avoid spending extra money. Even if it’s only a small expense, the savings will add up over time.

5. Plan ahead and save.
Are you planning to take a trip soon or have your eye on purchasing something you’ve always wanted? Start putting aside a set amount of funds every week to help you save. The more time you have to plan ahead, the more you can save. Or you can set up an automatic transfer to save a certain amount each month without even thinking about it. Talk to your local banker for more details.

 

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