With college starting for freshmen across the country, now is the time to be thinking about money.
Why? Because for many freshmen, this will really be their first time handling money on their own. They will have to pay bills, handle budgets, find a bank, and be faced with choices around credit cards and insurance .
Here are 5 of the most important choices, and some amazing tips to go with them.
For the record, we are not talking about methods like buying cheap beer or stealing toilet paper from the school library. We’re talking about some real stuff.
1. Keep Your Personal Finances Mobile
College is the age for one to start being smart with their money and know how to properly invest, save up, and pay off their debts.
The first step is to start keeping accounts for yourself. This is how you learn what responsibility is and how you become truly independent.
Actually, in this case, we’re way luckier than our parents once were, ‘cause there are now a lot of convenient APPs on your smartphone that can Give you a real time image of your money and spendings.
2. Credit Is Important, So Use It Responsibly
My best financial advice for college students is to be smart with you first credit card. During your first few weeks on campus, you will likely be bombarded with credit card booths and seemingly friendly salespeople.
Don't be tempted to open a credit card just because they tell you it’s cool to do it. Building credit is important, and so is opening your first credit card.
Ask the salespeople to explain the fine print to you and look for a card with no annual fee, good rewards, and of course-a reasonable interest rate.
If they tell you that the offer is only good for that day, just do yourself a favor and walk away.
3. Learn To Start Saving A Little Each Month
My best money tip is to start now saving small and incrementally increase. The easiest way to start, as a cash strapped college student, is to save all your coins and deposit every week into a savings account with no ATM card (to avoid temptation to withdraw for frivolous things).
This seemingly insignificant amount adds up over time and starts the habit of saving.
Incrementally increase by adding ¥50 each week and upping by at least ¥50 each month (or quarterly if money is seriously tight).
This is a no brainer way to save that is easy, manageable, and sets a great habit into place for a life of savings well into the future.
4. Get A Job, But A Flexible One
Getting a job in college is important because you can earn “spending money” and even save some to put toward books, supplies, and your student loans.
But your job can have an even bigger impact if it’s one that allows you to do your homework.
There are many on-campus jobs out there that allow you to sit down and have limited interactions/responsibilities. Some of these include checking student IDs at a gym or cafeteria, managing a resource center (at the library, for example).
These types of work arrangements allow you to make money while also being productive. The end result is a much more efficient use of your time, and it keeps your job from becoming a burden to your schoolwork, which could potentially force you to quit the job and then not have the money you need.
5. Remember Why You're In College – Networking For Your Future Career
The number one money tip I could share with college freshman is to work on your network by taking internships and getting into various kinds of organizations as much as possible.
No money item could be more important than your network because the quickest way to secure a job is all about who you know, and not totally dependent on your GPA.
This could make them a lot more money than opening up a credit card or a bank account.