6 Things Every College Student Must do to Manage their Finances

6 Things Every College Student Must do to Manage their Finances

Tuition, living expenses, books, entertainment and more expenses are a lot to try to balance while in college. However, after graduation, when the job starts and the loans become due, can be even more overwhelming. Below are the 6 things that students must do while in college to prepare for life after school.

  1. Apply for Grants and Scholarships by Published Deadlines

Grants and scholarships are a great way to offset the high cost of college. Unlike student loans and credit cards, the money received does not have to be repaid. Be creative and look for grants and scholarships through private foundations and government entities. Your college’s financial resource officers can help point you in the right direction.

  1. Speak to Financial Resources Department

The financial resources department at colleges and universities are a great source of information for work-study programs, scholarships, grants, student loans and part-time work. They are there to help you finance your education.

  1. Develop a Budget and Stick with it

Budgeting is not typically a priority for college students but it is essential. Try to budget to spend less than you are bringing in from work, scholarships and grants. Once you tilt towards amassing debt, realize it is more difficult to work your way out. Credit cards are tempting and many credit card companies actively recruit college students. Just remember that it can take years to pay off the debt you incur during college. Use credit cards wisely; for emergency expenses or purchases you can pay off within 3 billing cycles.

  1. Find a Summer Job or Part-Time Work

Summer jobs can be a great way to build a reserve of cash going into the following school year. Be sure to budget your money wisely; if you work and spend all of your money during the summer, you have not moved yourself ahead financially. This can put a strain on your studying and academic success. While in school, look for a flexible part-time job that can bring in the cash you need throughout the school year, without taking too much time away from your studies.

  1. Envision your Financial Future

Start to imagine, dream and envision what your financial future looks like. Do you dream of luxury homes and vacations? Do you want a more simple life? By analyzing your financial future, it can help you to select the best college major. Research typical jobs you can get after college and the salary that comes along with it. Start to prepare yourself to live within that budget, while paying off any debt you have incurred while earning your college degree.

  1. Take Accounting, Investing and Financial Courses

Regardless of your college major, it is essential that you take basic accounting and financial courses. Look for courses that focus on personal finances, and finances for small businesses. Begin to manage your personal finances, like you are running a business using the same principles of living within your means, saving and paying for expenses are universal. A class in investments can help you learn the types available, and how to best investment your money for your long-term financial goals.

It is never too early to start practicing responsible financial practices. Consult with an accountant to help you analyze your current financial situation and to set you on the right track for the future.

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