12 Money-Management Tips For College Students

By Lucy Lazarony • Bankrate.com

Don’t toss that final suitcase in the SUV and start the drive to college just yet. Here are a dozen tips to help you manage your money so the last two months of the semester aren’t spent munching stale potato chips in the dorm room or scanning the sidewalks for dropped change.

1. Track it
Track your spending for two to four weeks to find out where your money is going. Are four trips to Starbucks a week really necessary?

“They don’t realize how much they spend on little things,” says Vickie Hampton, a financial planner and an associate professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbuck, Texas. “That’s the most common revelation.”

Mark Oleson, director of a financial counseling clinic at Iowa State University, adds, “Usually, just by tracking expenses, you’ll start to curb expenses.”

2. Get a plan
The best way to manage your money over the course of a semester is to sit down and map out a budget. List sources of income such as scholarships, loans, money from summer jobs and cash from your parents as well as expenses, such as tuition, books and groceries.

3. Good time money
If you know you need to buy a new CD or go to concert or a party every week, make room for that in your budget.

“You need some entertainment,” Hampton says. “A student is going to get really burned out if you don’t do anything fun.”

4. Pace yourself
If you spend, spend, spend at the beginning of the semester, you could be tapped out later. Give yourself a spending limit for each week. Stick to it and you won’t have to eat macaroni-and-cheese every day in December.

5. Go easy with the credit cards
“One quick way to spend beyond your means is to charge it,” says Mallary Tytel, president of Healthy Workplaces.

Use credit cards sparingly. Once you get into the habit of reaching for a Visa, it can be hard to stop.

“I saw a student pick up a bag of chips and charge it,” Tytel says.

Who wants to pay interest on a bag of Doritos?

6. Set your own credit line
“Just because you have a credit card with a $2,000 credit line doesn’t mean you have to spend $2,000,” DiSpirito says. “If you know you can only pay back $500, then just spend that.”

Afraid you’ll spend as long as there’s room on the card? Call your credit card company and request your credit limit be lowered. Keep at it. Card companies will try boost up your credit lines so you spend more. Tell them “no” each time they try.

7. Get real
You can do what you want, but you can’t do everything you want. You’re going to have to make some choices. Whatever you choose is going to cost some money. Be realistic.

“You need to understand you can’t have everything and you have to understand there are consequences,” Tytel says. “At some point there needs to be a reality check in terms of what things cost. Most kids have no idea.”

8. Stuff happens
If you bust your budget on something you really, really want to do this week, make up for it next week.

If you find that you must go out to dinner and a movie one week, spend the money; be satifisfied with the decision, and commit to staying home, eating at home and not making any other purchases the following week.

9. Look ahead
Whether it’s a road trip with friends or an auto insurance bill, if you know a big expense is coming, start putting some money aside to pay for it.

“It’s a lot easier to set aside $50 every month than to come up with $300 when the bill is due,” Oleson says.

10. Get in touch with your roomie
Contact your roommate before the semester starts and divvy up expenses. Chat about who will bring a refrigerator and who will bring a microwave.

This way you avoid duplicating purchases and excess spending, but will still have all the conveniences to make college life easier.

11. Spread it out
“Most of the big expenses are at the beginning of the school year,” Tytel says. “Buy books as you need them. That will spread out expenses.”

Don’t forget to check out prices from online bookstores. They may give you a better deal than the campus bookstore. Buy used books whenever possible.

12. Ask for help when you need it
“It’s very difficult to say ‘I’m in trouble and I need $2,000′ or ‘I spent my student loan money,’ ” Tytel says.

Screw up some courage and phone home. The longer you put it off, the worse things get.

Tips To More Effectively Manage Money For Students

By: Jeremy Housewright

While college students are often criticized for their careless spending, most students generally do a better job managing money than they are given credit for.

A typical college student may have a college loan, a checking account, a savings account, a credit card, an ATM card, a debit card, a pre-paid phone card and a valuable student identification card.

It is easy for many college students to mess their finances up, considering most students are new at paying bills and managing expenses. However, 3 out of 5 college students manage to pay credit cards monthly, according to the Student Monitor survey. Most college students also work at a part-time job during the school year.

The Student Monitor survey also found that only 30 percent of college students like to by things on sale and most admit to buying on impulse.

“If I want something, like a CD or DVD, I’m going to buy it right away,” sophomore Chad Mueller said.

There are some easy tips that will help college students better manage their money.

Have only one credit card. More than one card just gives students the opportunity to get into more debt. Parents need to remind their children that credit cards are for convienence and emergency, not a loan.

College students need to learn to balance their checkbooks. The habit of writing a withdrawal down immediately is good.

Students should keep better track of spending. According to Student Monitor survey, the average student spends $200 a month on casual items, such as clothing and movies.

Sharing items will also save money. Try to share or trade clothing with friends. Selling back textbooks is also a good way to save money. For those who live in an apartment, sharing a vaccum cleaner or a grill is an easy way to save.

Investing is the ultimate way for a college student to preserve money. If a 20-year old manages to put money away in stock or mutual funds, their finances will look great in 10 years.

Saving Guide On Clothing

Clothes can be really costly, especially when all the fads and trends come and go as the seasons. It is very possible to save money when buying your clothes. You just need to have the strategies and tactics on how you can save your money.

Here are some tips on how to save when buying your clothes:

  • Don’t buy in Season clothes – different line of clothes come every season. And more often than not, they normally release new clothes at very high prices and normally they go down after a few months. Key is just patience to wait.

For example, when winter comes, coats and sweaters are released, however, after a month, normal sale or bargain prices will now be tagged on these clothes. If you were smart enough to wait, you can still wear these clothes during the remaining days of winter and the coming fall.

  • Wait for Factory Sales – when Factories put out their sale season, clothes can be cut from 40%-90% off the original price. Imagine how big this saving is! Also, going directly to the Manufacturer’s store is a helpful tip on getting a good deal on clothes.

  • Garage Sales – these are very popular stores and places where you can get your clothes at really, really low prices. Find garage sales that are put up by families, in this way, chances of getting quality clothes are much higher than those garage sales that have been put up for commercial purposes already.

However, it is important to remember and avoid buying clothes just because the prices are really low, you might not even wear the clothes, and the concept of saving is put to waste.

  • Bargain – always visit your favorite store and befriend the sales people there. You can then ask for the possible dates of SALE and bargain wherein you can save at a minimum of 20% off the original price of your desired clothes.

  • Buy two different sizes and two different colors – If you have kids, it is very advisable to actually get two sizes, since children grow up really fast. Also, buying two colors to have variety, only if the clothes are already at their reduced rates.

  • Shop Online – nowadays, there are many clothing stores online. And, most of the clothing lines have their own websites where you can online shop.

Like the regular stores, the online shops have their season for SALE and BARGAINS as well. Just make a habit of checking regularly your favorite clothing line to wait for these awaited bargains.

  • Sign up for your Favorite Boutique’s mailing list – be sure to sign up for your favorite clothing store’s mailing list, newsletter and catalogs. In this way, you will be updated and be the first one to know of the upcoming On Sale Items and the new releases of the trendy clothes as well.

  • Coupon Codes and Coupon Cards – if shopping online is your thing, there are many coupon codes that can be found online that could give you a cut off of the original price of your favorite online store. Some of the coupon code sites are the www.couponcabin.com and www.keycode.com.

All you have to do is look for the “apparel” category code and you will be given your choices of retailers. You can also put the “online coupon” or “coupon code” in your favorite search engines such as Google and you will be given a list of sites that could provide you best deals for your retailers.

  • In-Store Credit Cards – many boutiques nowadays, offer in-store credit cards. All you need to do is apply for a credit card of your own, especially if you have a favorite store where you frequently buy your clothes. Normally, these credit cards give good discounts on clothes being sold in that particular boutique.

Also, the card holders normally get special coupons, birthday discounts and other relative discounts every holiday, you can get a minimum of 5% up to 15% discounts.

Another benefit of these is free shipping, being updated of the new arrival of clothes and rebates. However, this tactic only is beneficial if you plan to pay your credit card bill a day after you have purchased the product. This is because credit card companies charge an awful lot of finance fees and interests. It may not even counterbalance the savings you intentionally wanted in applying for the credit card.

  • Get a part-time job at your favorite store – a lot of shoppers apply and get part time jobs on their favorite boutique. This will give them extra money for their job and employee’s discounts on the clothes being sold in that particular store.

When To Use Emergency Debt Relief Programs

If you are on a debt crisis, an emergency debt relief plan can help you find solutions of all payments and credits. You may use an emergency debt relief plan if you are in a situation where you are no longer able to get out of the high cost of interest and high amount of debts.

Those who use an emergency debt relief plan are those individuals who have very high credits. You may have overspent your credit card and have engaged yourself with high interest rates. You may be in the situation that you can no longer afford the high charges of interest on your credit cards.

There are many ways on how you can get out of debt immediately using an emergency debt relief plan. They will provide you educational services on how you can manage your expenses wisely. They have promising goals for your financial stability. You will also be assisted with their credible information customer services on how you can be relieved with the headache of having a debt crisis.

The debt settlement you will initiate with your financial institution will be handled properly by your emergency debt relief plan. It also handles the responsibility on choosing the right person to talk to in negotiating your credit problems. All your personal information is kept safe and protected properly under their policies.

Getting out of your high debt can be challenging. However, using the right information on an emergency debt relief plan will let you find yourself debt free in just a short period.

Here are some tips that can help you get out of overwhelming debts.

1. You may cancel your credit lines and choose a plan that will offer a low cost of interest on your credit card.

2. If possible, it is advisable that you use cash on your purchases. Make sure that you buy items that are within your budget.

3. You may make additional payments on your next due date bills. You may add the previous debt payment on your current debt.

4. You should pay all your bills on time. In this way, you will avoid penalties and charges on your credit card.

5. It is advisable that you reduce the number of your credit cards. You may only use one credit card to avoid heavy interest rates for having many cards. Cancel cards that you are not using.

Remember to find a credible emergency debt relief plan to ensure the safety of your personal account information. Now that you have been educated with the right things to do, you may expect freedom from debts and good credit ratings.

Tips To Relief Consumer Debt

Is there a way to relief if not totally eliminate debt? Believe it or not, there is. And all it takes is a real plan and course of action of actually paying creditors.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce debts that would enable you to make lower monthly payment obligations. Few bills actually mean more money for yourself or for your savings. This money can then be used for other useful and relevant things.

The following are basic tips to help eliminate debts.

Pay more than the minimum

Bills usually come at a designated time of the month. Usually, this bill details the minimum amount that needs to be paid on or before a particular date. As much as possible, try to pay at least triple or double the stated minimum amount. This makes it easier for you to pay off quickly the credit card balance.

Get a loan for bill consolidation

The best and usually most effective and efficient way to help alleviate debts and to eventually become free from its chains are by getting loans that consolidate debt and bills. If there is a house you own, you may consider getting a mortgage cash-out refinancing or home loan equity. Any funds that are acquired from such transactions could be readily used to pay credit card bills with high interests and any other debt.

Loans from home equity actually create additional types of loans. These types of loans have terms that are fixed and low loan rates. Also, they are easier to repay. However, if you choose to refinance, any money received comes together with a loan mortgage.

Another type of bill consolidation involves the acquisition of a personal loan that is secure or unsecure, from a valid financial institution. If in case you don’t qualify for such, get the services of a company that manages debt.

Obtain a balance credit card transfer

Usually, those who have heavy debts in their credit cards find it unthinkable to acquire another card. Think again though, there are credit cards out there that offer a balance transfer facility at a zero percent rate as their introductory offer. This offers a good opportunity and means to help ease and eventually eliminate credit card debt.

All in all, easing the monetary pain brought about by debt is easy as long as you are committed to the task. All it really takes is patience.

How To Pay Off Debt

Joseph and Suzie have been dating for quite awhile. Less than a year later, the couple decided to get married. The expenses for the ceremony were way beyond the means of both that until now, the couple is still paying off this debt.

What is debt? This means something a person owed. This is usually in the form of money with corresponding interests given back to the creditor.

Is it easy to pay off a debt? Yes, but it is going to take some hard work and sacrifice before the individual can live a considerate lifestyle again.

The reality is that there isn’t enough money to pay off the loan in one swift stroke. This is because the spouses have to also spend on other things for daily living such as rent, gas, food and clothes.

One way to pay off debt slowly will be borrowing money from family and friends. A certain amount can be collected and returned later on without returning this back with interest.

It sometimes takes two heads or more to work better than one. If the couple has a hard time controlling the expenses, perhaps getting the help of a financial expert is in order. These professionals can deal with the banks and even consolidate the remaining amount by up to 40%.

The spouses will have to write down all the expenses. The expert will then help cross out those that aren’t important. As long as the two follow the plan, a calculation can be made as to how long before the debt is paid.

Aside from dealing with this situation in one front, the couple mustn’t forget to deal with rent and other bills that come at the end of the month. Being focused on one and neglecting the other can also do some damage.

The worse thing is getting a bad credit rating, which will make it difficult for anyone to apply for a credit card or a much needed loan in the future.

People must remember that it is one thing to spend on something and another when getting the bill and reading the fine print.

The only way to get out of a debt is to pay for it. By getting help from people and learning to spend within the available means, Joseph and Suzie can recover from this obstacle and work hard to prevent it from ever happening.

Using The Credit Card To Save Money

When people didn’t have enough money to buy things, the only way to get the needed amount was to get a loan from the bank. Nowadays, the person can buy these in advance using a credit card.

Many banks offer this as a way of generating more revenue for the company. Agents are sometimes sent to kiosks in malls or in the streets offering the forms for free. Once the applicant’s documents are processed, it will be mailed to the home or the office and can be used when it is activated.

Credit cards save money by letting the person get an item without reducing the cash carried in the wallet. This is paid later on when the statement is sent to the home giving a summary of the purchases made during the previous month.

The companies that offer credit cards earn money by charging a certain interest rate on the purchases. This happens when the individual can’t pay the amount in full which will be carried over in the bill that will be added to the expenses sent in the succeeding month.

The only way the cardholder can avoid these extra charges and penalties is by paying the bill in full and on time.

Failure to pay can prompt the company to repossess the items, the foreclose of the client’s assets as payment and a bad credit rating preventing the borrowing of new loans until there is an improvement in the customer’s status. Those who spend too much then should solve this immediately or with the help of others.

Many people are able to maintain a good credit rating making banks send other cards with the hope of landing an account with the same client. The only way these cards can be activated is by calling on the customer hotline. These should be cut and thrown away preventing anyone from using it if the person isn’t interested.

The credit card can be used locally or internationally. Foreign countries will only honor these if it is affiliated with firms such as MasterCard, VISA or American Express. The bill will be reflected in US dollars since these will be converted depending on the current exchange rate.

Credit cards are handy since it saves the cardholder money when there isn’t that much in the wallet. The person should exercise control to make sure overspending doesn’t happen.

Remember, credit card is not extra money. Use it wisely.

How To Take Charge Of Your Debts

The rising cost of living and dying has made people more reliant on loans and credit that most people have been indebted to someone at some point in their lives. A debt is an obligation that should be paid and accounted for no matter how meager the amount.

Being in debt is normal considering that no one has a monopoly of all the money in the world. People will always have the tendency to accumulate debts no matter how rich. In fact, rich people have more debts than poor people because they have more needs and they have more collateral or security.

Being indebted isn’t something that you should be ashamed of provided you are a responsible debtor. This means the money was used for a very good cause or purpose and the debtor is religious in looking after his responsibility to pay his debts.

Even a person who is savvy is financial management can get into debt for one reason or another. However, a person who is good in managing his finances should also be good in managing his debts. Managing debts would include the ability to know how much a person owes and from where he would get the money to pay such debts.

The ability to know the total indebtedness is a must in debt management because the person who is in debt is aware of the total amount he has to produce to pay off his debts. There are people who don’t practice good debt management and they keep borrowing money without being able to monitor how much they already owe people or the financial institutions.

Debt management means that at the time the loan was made, the borrower knows where he would source the payment for such debt. This makes the debt manageable because it would appear that the person has some source of income and he is just not liquid at the time he borrowed the money.

People who don’t have a steady source of income should be discouraged from borrowing because there is a tendency for their debts to pile up without being paid at all. Unemployed people who resort to borrowing for their essential expenses like food and daily subsistence would borrow from another creditor to pay off a debt that is already due and demandable. The same thing happens to the second and the next loans after which it becomes a cycle.

A person who is indebted to someone should take an inventory of his assets that can be used to pay off his debts. There is no problem if the debtor is looking at a possible income that hasn’t yet been encashed or paid. Such unpaid income can be considered an asset which can be used to pay his debts.

Debts are easily made but they are difficult to pay. Thus, every person should be careful when borrowing money from others. Make sure that you have something to pay for the debt like an incoming income or check, or assets that can be sold to pay off the debt.

Some people get indebted by virtue of loans which have varying interest rates. This means that aside from the principal amount borrowed, the debtors still have to pay for the interest rate. A person who borrowed $100 at ten percent interest rate per month will have to pay the principal plus the interest rate of $10 per month. Some interest rates are based on the actual balance like if the debtor has already paid $20 then the interest rates would only be pegged on the balance of $80. However, there are some interest rates pegged at the original amount borrowed.

While being in debt is a natural thing, every person should learn how to manage his debt and how to stay out of debt if possible. One of the major factors why most Americans are indebted today is the misuse of credit cards.

Credit cards are those plastic cards that can be used to pay for almost any purchase even if you don’t have cash. People find it easier to spend when using their cards because they just swipe it and voila, it works like a genie granting their every wish!

However, most people who fail to use their credit cards wisely become indebted and are faced with legal actions for failing to pay their cards when they become due and demandable.

Go ahead, borrow if you must but always take charge of your debts to make sure they don’t lead you to declaring insolvency or bankruptcy.