BY TAYLOR TOMITA
College is a wonderful time where individuals are able to grow into their adult live and take on new and exciting experiences. However, our college years also must require a great deal of self-control and responsibility. Let’s face it, most students love visiting their favorite coffee shops in the morning before class or having a night out on the town over the weekends, and while this is completely fine, many students are not aware of how to do this without severely crippling themselves financially.
Thankfully, there are many opportunities for students to live their college life to the fullest without setting themselves up for trouble in the future. Here are four fantastic tips for college students to be responsible with their finances and make the most out of their college years.
Be Aware of Your Student Loans
Of course, student loans are a necessity in nearly every student’s educational endeavors, but it is important for students to be aware of how to manage student loans to avoid being buried in a mountain of debt. Understanding when to pursue private loans, and managing interest rates can help a college student maintain control of their financial life, and remove a great deal of the fiscal stress that many students encounter.
It is equally important for students to only take what they need when receiving financial assistance throughout college. Of course, that extra bit of money would be great to have so you can avoid eating another cheap meal, but in the grand scheme of things, it can cause the overall amount of the loan to skyrocket over time. A great rule of thumb for managing this is to borrow no more than your anticipated first-year’s salary.
Start a Savings Account
If your childhood was anything like mine, you have most likely heard the phrase, “start a savings account” close to a million times. However, it was not until recently that I discovered the value in doing so. Creating a savings account, and putting at least 10% of your monthly disposable income into it, can be a deciding factor of how your first few “after college” years will look.
After graduating college, students are blindly thrown into the world and forced to find a career on their own. If they are lucky, this will be easy. Many fresh college graduates may struggle to find their “dream job” quickly, and this is where a savings will come in handy. Having a financial backup savings plan can keep you from being forced back into Mom and Dad’s house, and will help you remain positive in trying times.
Use Your Hobbies to Make Money
Between managing student loans and worrying about their savings accounts, many students are weary about adding another responsibility into their daily lives – like a part time job. However, as technology has revolutionized the entrepreneurial world, there are many opportunities for students to put their hobbies to use to generate a side income – Which may be more appealing than working a boring night job.
Be Mindful of Credit Cards
Credit cards can be a saving grace for students traversing the college world. However, many individuals tend to go a bit overboard when it comes to credit cards. Why? Well, they are exciting. It is important to understand when and how to use credit cards, because when used correctly, they can be a fantastic way for someone to build their credit score and start their lives on the right track.
A great rule for credit cards is to start by only using it to pay one or two bills per month, and then paying the balance off by the due date of the credit card bill. This will help create consistency when paying your bills throughout life, and will also help establish a better credit score – opening opportunities for lower interest rates and deals in the future.
In summary, college is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn and grow, but there are many financial aspects to be aware of when traversing throughout the college world. Take these tips and run with them! Thank you for reading!
Author Bio: Taylor Tomita is a creative writer residing in Boise, Idaho. Focusing on various angles of education and business, Taylor has been able to help many individuals overcome concerns within these fields. When not writing, you can find Taylor playing in the band Stepbrothers or hanging out with his cat at home. Follow him on Twitter (@Trvshlvrd_rr)!