For many, going away to college is the first taste of freedom. Unfortunately, it’s also often the first time many young people are responsible for their finances, often without much guidance. But starting off on the right foot and setting up good habits can go a long way. Here are some tips to managing finances:
- Set up a budget and stick to it. Budgeting isn’t glamourous, fun, or spontaneous. However, it is the key to making sure you can pay your bills. An occasional splurge may not break the bank, but if you’re completely unaware of what’s in the bank, when your bills are due, and how much you need to pay, you’ll never really know how much damage a splurge can do.
- Be careful with credit. Credit card companies will be eager to get your business. Before signing up for any card offers, be sure to read the fine print to understand all the terms and conditions. Once you find a card that suits your needs, use it wisely. Be careful not to overextend yourself, buying more things on credit than you can afford to pay back timely.
- Use your bank’s services. Most banks offer a variety of tools to help customers manage their money. This can include budgeting tools, mobile apps, and online bill pay. In addition, be sure to use your bank’s ATM when taking out cash to avoid withdrawal fees.
- Ask for help if you need it. No one is born able to handle their finances. If you need assistance managing your money, ask for it. While there are plenty of online resources such as blogs and articles about finance, you may still find yourself confused. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone more experienced for guidance.
- Don’t try to keep up with anyone. Everyone around you may seem like they are spending, buying new things, and living large. And maybe they are, but keep your eyes on the prize: financial security. Save some funds for a rainy day, live within your means, and plan ahead for rough patches.
While these tips are geared toward new college students, the truth is they can work for everyone. If you’ve gotten off track with your budget and money, it’s never too late to turn it around. Following these tips can help you build a good credit score or repair
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