College years are the time when many people establish financial habits that will carry them for the rest of their lives.
Pay attention to these items to get off on the right financial foot:
- Spending plan: Know how much money you have available for college expenses. Create a workable monthly spending plan that balances income, loans, and gifts with anticipated expenses.
- Records: Use an app to track expenses or monitor expenses online. Tracking expenses will help you see where your money is going and adjust your spending as needed. Also, remember to review your financial statements every month.
- Credit cards: Commit to paying credit card bills in full and on time each month. Using credit wisely teaches you how to live within your means while creating a positive credit record that could help when buying a car, renting an apartment, obtaining insurance, and even landing a job.
- Organization: Keep all financial records, bills, and account statements in one location. This will help you pay bills on time, avoid late fees, and keep an unblemished credit score.
- Personal information: Learn about the different forms of identity theft, the kinds of personal information you need to protect, and how to protect information—even, and especially, from friends and roommates. Learn the pitfalls of careless use of social media.
Apps make personal finance easy
There are many apps to help you manage your money. Your credit union might have its own money-management app.
Or, there are others that might help as well: