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While personal finance should be a required subject in school, most students lean on family and friends to help them learn healthy money habits. Even with the support of family and friends, you might be left with questions about managing your money in college, applying for credit, and staying out of (or at least minimizing) debt.
Whether you’re a seasoned personal finance pro or afraid to check your credit score, incorporate these five tips into your routine to help shape your financial future.
If you haven’t already, one way to start managing your money in college is to create a budget. Sticking to a budget in college might seem like a challenge at first, but it ends up paying off in the long run (pun very much intended). Budgeting helps you get a better look at your financial situation every month or every week, which is key to managing your money.
Swipe out of Instagram and download one of the many personal finance apps on your phone. These apps make it easy to see how much you’re spending and can even help encourage you to save money. Not sure which one to try?
Are you considering a credit card? Finding the right credit card can be tricky to navigate when you start managing your money in college, and you don’t want to learn about interest and fees the hard way. Some credit card companies offer college students the option to sign up for a card while still in school. It can be normal for students to spend quickly before thoroughly understanding all the responsibilities of managing your credit and credit cards.
How much money do you actually need to borrow? Take time to consider different ways to lower your education costs, whether that’s applying for scholarships, grants, or federal aid. At Ascent, we’re invested in your journey to academic success and financial wellness by offering benefits beyond just a student loan. Using our Bright Futures Engine™, you can visualize your college choices’ potential financial outcomes (based on school, major, years in school, cost of tuition/living expenses, etc.) to help you make a more informed decision and maximize the return on the investment in your education.
Make saving money in college a priority. It can help keep you from overspending, and you’ll be able to put a few dollars aside for future unplanned expenses. You can start by saving for your tuition each quarter or semester. Whether you’re working summer jobs or have a part-time job during the school year, saving toward your education now can help in the amount you end up borrowing, which will make a difference later when your payments and interest add up.
Things happen, and it’s always good to be prepared, so work on saving up for an emergency fund. If an unexpected expense arises, like your car breaking down or having to replace a textbook, you’ll be able to tap into that fund without stressing about where you’ll find the money.
While you may be getting started on your higher education, it’s important to remember that you don’t need an extensive background or degree to master the art of managing your money in college. Whether you set up a savings account today or download a budgeting app, taking the time to invest in your finances can really pay off.
For more tips on how to budget your money, please visit the link below.