The freedom to decide where and when to spend your own money warrants a lot of responsibility, especially if your parents are miles away. It is important to create great habits around your financial decisions!
Here are a few tips to help keep you in good financial shape as you face your college career.
1) Create a Budget
Creating a budget is a powerful tool. It allows you to keep track of your flow of money. Know where your money is going and where you may need to cut back. A budget doesn’t allow you not to have fun, but it does allow you to stay ahead of the game to make decisions about expenses more carefully.
There are many budgeting tools and spreadsheet templates online to help you start your budgeting process.
2) Create an Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund is essential for financial health. You never know when an unexpected expense will pop up. This can range from medical bills, car repairs, or even a required textbook. You don’t want this expense to derail your financial situation, even more you want to be able to pay this expense without needing a loan. Start saving and creating this emergency fund early to create financial stability!
3) Use a Limited Amount of Credit Cards
Credit cards are a great tool to build your credit score if they are used wisely. However, they can also be very detrimental to your financial health. Limit the amount of credit cards you open so you can create a plan and keep track of your monthly payments. Most importantly, pay the balances in full each month!
4) Make a Plan to Attack your Debt
If you did have an abundance of credit card debt, personal loans, or student loans you need a plan to get rid of them. There are many ways you can deal with this problem, but you need to be proactive in deciding a plan of attack. To have a stable financial future, your debts need to be attacked head-on and as early as possible.
Financial Health is a vital part of life. By being proactive as a college student, you can create a great foundation as you head into your career after college. Be sure to use all resources available to help you make a plan. This includes Stanford Federal Credit Union’s quarterly newsletters that will always give you nuggets to live a financially healthy life!