Financial Guide for College Students

Budgeting as a college student isn't easy. There's a reason people stereotype us as starving students. Having loans and spending money in general are simply part of a college student's experience. Here are some quick tips on how to guide your finances while in school:

  • Banking:
    1. Savings: a savings account is important to have for emergencies and it is a great way to save your money. Tell yourself not to touch this money unless necessary. It is not to be used to pay bills, restaurants or shopping but it is for that car you need. But beware, some banks will charge you a monthly maintenance fee if your savings is not a certain amount.
    2. Checking: A young, independent lady should open up a checking account where you can keep your money. You can also use a checking account to pay bills online and as direct deposit for employment. Remember, set a goal and stick to it. These are funds for a specific goal or for rainy days.
    • Credit cards: ever hear on television, “NO credit, NO problem?” That is wrong information-- the system is built on credit and you cannot buy a house, a car or take out loans without credit.
      1. APR: Annual Percentage Rate is the annual rate charged for borrowing.  The lower this is the better.
      2. Monthly payment: monthly payments usually range between $25 to $35 depending on the company and your credit. It is important to pay your credit cards monthly for this can have a big impact on your credit.
      3. If you get approved for credit, only use what you have just to build up credit and leave funds for emergencies. Start with Macys, Target or Victoria Secret cards
      • Saving for emergencies: You never know how hard it will rain down on you (rainy day funds) so be responsible and prepared to pull your independent self out of sticky situations with emergency funds saved in your savings.
      • Saving more than you spend: Pretty self-explanatory. Make a budget even for entertainment and leisure. Give yourself $40 this weekend out of your $250 paycheck for drinks and food or nails and hair. Put a percentage in your savings each paycheck and keep some in your checking.
        1. Create budget for gas, food, and other bills by plotting out what you will be spending vs what you make. If you spend more than you make, then cut down on something like sacrificing the Netflix and Spotify account (bummer!)
        • Minimalism: Lately, I have been embracing a minimalist lifestyle by excluding things that will not bring meaning to my life and keeping items that I cannot live without. This has made me so much happier and my bank account is also thanking me for it. This does not mean that you need to reduce to 5 items for your whole life, but instead ask yourself if you really need 57 pens and pencils like I had. Start small (I am still working on it) and you will truly see the difference.