how to manage your money in college

7 tips for managing your money in college

Why is it important to manage your money while you’re in college?

College is an investment. Not just a monetary investment, but an investment of time, energy, and effort. With all this energy being put toward college, you may be thinking “I don’t have time to worry about managing my money.” But just like picking up your clothes off the floor every day helps keep your room clean in the long run, a little bit of effort into money management each day will set you up for long-term financial success.

Reasons you should start managing your money in college

  • It takes much less time than you would think.
  • After even just a week, money management can relieve stress.
  • You’ll love knowing you are making the most of every dollar you earn.

Before you dive in to money management, we want to help you learn how to do it right.

Here are our 7 tips for managing your money in college.

1. Keep yourself accountable

Mvelopes is a budgeting app that allows you to manage your money by creating specific envelopes in the app. You then place certain amounts of money in these envelopes. This will help you limit the amount of money you may spend each week on coffee or going out for food. Like most the apps on this list, it requires self control, but a little accountability can go a long way with your money.

2. create budgets

Mint is another budgeting app that not only allows you to create budgets, but gives you suggestions based on your spending habits. If you pay bills on a monthly basis it has the capability to remind you of the upcoming bill and even pay the bill automatically for you. If you use a credit card or multiple credit cards it also gives you free access to your credit score.

3. Manage your loans

ReadyForZero is a great tool for managing your student loans. Oftentimes college students think of their student loans as something to deal with once they graduate and far to intimidating a number to make a dent in while they’re in college. This service gives a visual plan that is tailored to the income level of a student on how they can begin to pay off their student loans.

4. Understand and build credit

Building credit is very important to financial success during and after college. The best time to start building credit is while you are in college. There are simple ways you can build a great credit score that will be useful as you apply for housing, car loans, and other big purchases after graduation.

Myfico blog is a great blog for students who want to learn more about what credit is, how to build it, and mistakes to avoid. Reading up on this blog will teach you how to get the most value out of your credit and the best ways to build up a great credit score early in life.

5. research your best options

Every student’s financial situation is different, so it’s important to research the best solutions for you. Perhaps you’re currently working to pay your way through school, or you will graduate with no debt at all. Regardless of your situation, money management is a necessary skill to obtain during college. Remember that your financial aid team is always there to help you find your best options for affording your college education. 

The Penny Hoarder is an extremely valuable blog for college students. With articles and topics tailored to young people, The Penny Hoarder gives endless tips for saving and making money. Their articles vary from easy ways to budget to odd jobs that you can take advantage of to bring in a few more dollars.

6. take advantage of available resources

There is a huge selection of blogs, podcasts, seminars, and books available to help you learn the best practices for money management.  And many of these resources are also free!

For those of us with little time and short attention spans, the Money Girl  podcast is a great place to start. If an hour long podcast about finances and money managing sounds like a struggle to you then give this podcast a try. Host Lauren Adams discusses  great financial topics in ten minutes or less, week after week. Ten minutes a day to become a pro at managing your money? Sounds easy enough.

7. Learn from professionals

Countless experts in the financial industry have taken time to provide resources for those who are new to money management.

The College Investor and The College Investor Audio Show offer information and articles from experts in the field, including 10-minute podcasts that discusses a range of topics regarding money. Get simple advice on how to manage student loan debt, create an effective and realistic budget for yourself, or find a new side job that will help you bring in enough money to go to a concert with your friends in a month.

Start managing your money when it counts

College is a huge investment of more than just money. Your education will give you valuable skills for your career and for your relationships, and will help you succeed in life. But the skills and knowledge you have the opportunity to gain, not just in the classroom, during your college years can have an extremely positive impact on your life as a whole. Take the time to learn and develop great money managing skills that will never lose their value.

Want to evaluate how you can pay for college?

Download our free cost worksheet to see how the costs of tuition and fees can be broken down.

Content contributed by Katie Meek and Auston Nigg.

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