5 budget tips for college students

April 12th, 2012 by admin

student-budget-tips-ts78329144Whether you’re fresh out of high school or resuming your academic career after a long layoff, managing your finances is an important part of being a college student. Follow these tips from FoxBusiness.com to handle your money smartly and make paying off your loans a little easier.

Do your research
Some colleges and universities recommend financial services to students. And while these recommendations may work great for some students, they won’t necessarily be ideal for everyone. That’s why you should shop around to weigh the benefits of various institutions. Visit banks and credit unions either in person or online to get an idea of the services they offer and the fees they charge to determine which will work best for your needs.

Read the fine print
You may be offered a debit card or checking account with great perks, but failing to read the fine print can cost you. So read through a sign-up form or account agreement from top to bottom and take the time to understand the costs and features before you sign on the dotted line.

Don’t pay to access your own money

Some banks actually charge you a fee to maintain a checking account or to load money on a prepaid debit card. Avoid this pesky fee by looking for a bank that offers no-fee checking accounts or low-fee accounts for students. Also, beware of things like overdraft protection, which offers a high-interest loan in the event that you exceed your account balance.

Track your spending
Without a set amount of cash in your wallet, it’s easy to go a little overboard with credit or debit card spending. If you find yourself struggling to stay within your means each month, be sure to hold on to your receipts and use a tracking service like Mint.com to help manage your money more effectively. “Live like a student while you’re at school so you don’t have to live like a student after you graduate,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Finaid.org and Fastweb.com.

Use student loan money wisely
If you buy one pizza per week, you might end up spending close to $2,000 by the time you graduate. And if you’re using student loan money to buy your meals, you might end up paying nearly double that when you factor in interest. Do your best to stick to a strict food budget and use your student loan money only for school-related expenses.

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