Financial Responsibility in College
As a college student, the easiest mistake to make is letting your newfound independence hijack your finances. It’s incredibly easy to spend money left and right when you go off to school, so here are a few tips to live by to ensure you manage your money well.
Be responsible for your own spending money: any food, entertainment, shopping, and travel expenses, to name a few, should come out of your own pocket. If you have to pay for your own casual, out-of-school expenses, you’ll be less inclined to spend the money.
$1,500 to $3,000 will serve you well as spending money for the entire year. It’s possible to get by with less than that, but you certainly shouldn’t be spending more than $3k.
Getting a job either on- or off-campus can help offset your day-to-day expenses; also consider working over vacations, maybe get a job when you go home for winter break. If you find a good opportunity to pick up a few dollars on the side, jump on it.
If you have or will have a credit card, you should be ready to exercise great responsibility with it. Credit cards are an easy gateway into a large amount of debt, if you don’t manage them properly. Perhaps you and your parents can set a pre-paid spending limit on the card, or you decide it’s only to be used in case of emergency. Credit cards can be very helpful in certain circumstances, and you will begin to build a credit history, which is a good thing.
All told, controlling your personal expenses as a college student is tremendously important. It’s very easy to spend money carelessly, but it’s irresponsible. Start learning about financial responsibility now, and you’ll be on sound financial footing for the rest of your college career and adult life.