Finance Guide for College Students
College is a fun and exciting time in your life, but don't get so caught up in the campus lifestyle that you forget to budget your money. Financial responsibility is a challenge, but with the right budget and mindset, you can save money while you're at college and get ready for the future.
Managing your money is an important skill to learn even before your college years. Start each month by making a list of planned expenses and expected income. If you can, put aside some money for emergencies. Calculate how much you have left over for discretionary spending, like impromptu shopping trips and outings with friends. If you budget well, you could have a small kernel of savings to launch your post-college life.
- Mint Budgeting App - Make adjustments to your budget on the go with this convenient app.
- Budgeting Tips - Here are more tips to help you plan your monthly budget.
- Wally - Track your outgoing expenses with Wally.
- Budget Worksheet - Try out different spending configurations with this electronic budget worksheet.
- Managing Your Money in College - Here's advice just for college students.
Track your spending every month and see if there are areas in which you can be saving more money. Use coupons when you go grocery shopping and buy your clothes on sale. Your university might offer vouchers for textbooks. College students are eligible for discounts on laptops in certain stores. Save money in the long run by depositing your money in a savings account with a high yield rate.
Credit determines whether you'll be able to rent an apartment, qualify for a loan, or buy a car. Your credit score goes up when you pay your financial obligations, such as student loan payments, on time. When you miss a payment or default on a loan, your credit score drops. If you qualify for a credit card, a low-interest rate credit card can help you build your credit. A credit card isn't free money. Spend judiciously and make your credit card payments when they're due.
- International Students Can Build Credit Too - Credit isn't just for US citizens.
- How Credit Cards Build Your Credit - One or two credit cards can get you on track for a high credit score.
- Your Credit Score - Understand your credit score and how it's calculated.
- Private Student Loans - Make your loan payments on time and your credit won't go down.
- Defaulting - Defaulting can negatively affect your credit score. Check for refinancing options before defaulting.
Covering All Your Bases
Accidents and emergencies happen. Investing in rental insurance, health insurance, and car insurance can mitigate the impact of unexpected financial disasters. It's best to put some money into an emergency fund anyway, just to be safe.
- Preparing for a Financial Crisis - Don't let an emergency take you unawares.
- Health-Care Options for College Students - Assess your risk and choose a plan that works for you.
- All About Car Insurance - Here's everything you need to know about insuring your car in college.
- Coronavirus Relief - See if you're eligible for one of the government's COVID-19 relief programs.
- Emergency COVID-19 Grants - Apply for a grant if you're eligible.
Here are some additional resources to help you organize your college finances and plan for life after college.
- Know Your Financial Aid - There are many different types of student aid, from federal grants to private scholarships.
- Work-Study Jobs - You can earn money and learn at the same time.
- Military Benefits - Children and spouses of service members are entitled to special benefits.
- Financial Aid and Minorities - Special scholarships may be available for members of minority groups.
- Financial Planning for Parents - Parents can help their children with financial planning in college.
- Deals and Discounts - Here's a list of stores where you can get discounts and deals as a college student.
- Saving Money as a Student - There are many different ways to save a few dollars here and there.
- Used Textbooks as a Plus - Buying used textbooks will save you money and protect the environment.