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.

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 Save Money And Get Out Off Debt

One of the things that people can’t live without is money. This is the only way that a person can buy stuff such as food, clothes or gas. It is also used to pay for certain amenities such as water, heat and electricity, which are vital for the home.

These things are perhaps the only things that are important for any household. Unfortunately, there are some who spend too much and in the end, have a huge debt to pay when the credit card bill comes at the end of the month.

Is there a way out for anyone in this predicament? The answer is yes and that means cutting down the budget only for the essentials so the excess can be used to pay off the debt.

The grown-ups in the household must first itemize these expenses. This will inform the owner where the money goes and how long this lasts. Some shop for groceries weekly while others do it every two weeks.

The same goes for gasoline used for the car, which really depends on where the person travels if it is work related, or for pleasure. This is very important these days since the price per gallon is up by more than $3 and isn’t expected to come down in the nearer future.

Car-pooling is one way those who work in the same company can save money together. Refueling done every seven days can probably become eight or nine maximizing the gas inside the vehicles compartment.

Do people really need to shop for clothes every week? Not really. A good pair of jeans could last a few years while a shirt or a blouse can last months before it fades due to wear and tear. This may mean sacrificing to be with the “in-crowd” but this can wait until the financial problem at home is settled.

The clothes will always be there. Instead of buying them at the regular price, why not wait till the store has a sale or a promotional event, which can save a few dollars that can also be used to buy other items.

Most homes have a telephone, cable and an Internet connection. In some cases, a service provider can provide all three. If the bill is too expensive, perhaps it is time to switch to another company that can give the same quality at a lower price.

There are many ways to save money and get out of debt. The people involved should work out a plan and stick to it so that this problem will soon be over.

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.

Control High Interest Debt

Your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. Liabilities are debts. The more debts you owe, the lower your net worth will be. Plus whenever you have debts, you also pay for the interest, that’s why you lose more.

For practical reasons, it’s understandable why people sign up for loans. Take for example, buying a car or a home, it’s hard to shell out cash here and there. That’s why debt is a tool that when used wisely can benefit the borrower. However, the borrower must comprehend that a debt is still a debt and must be paid in due time – with interest.

When people don’t manage their money well, they get in financial trouble. It’s a cycle. They run short of cash, that’s why they borrow. Then they’re not able to stick to a budget so they can’t pay the debt.

Reasons why people get into serious debt are:

– Unemployment

– High cause of medical bills

– Settling divorce finances

– Spend-aholic or could not control spending

– Wasn’t able to save

– Not in the know on financial and credit matters

When talking about health, prevention is always better than cure. That’s the same with your money, better to save for a rainy day.

Here are some tips:

– Make a budget and do your best to stick to it. When it’s payday, have an amount allotted for the bills that have to be paid as soon as possible. This includes setting aside some for credit card debts.

– Save 10% of your salary for emergency. You don’t know what could happen the next day, next week or next month.

– When you have a choice of buying a purchase for a lower and practical price, then go for that one. Think, think, think before investing on something.

– If you have to borrow, research on the loan. Study the interest rate and the penalty fees. Then after borrowing, make a budget of how much you can save so that you can pay when called for.

It is common understanding that when you take out a loan, you repay the principal. The principal is the amount that you borrowed plus the interest.

You can control your credit card debt by looking at the interest rates of any loan you’re considering to sign up for before doing so. Interest rates vary and it is practical that you get one where you wouldn’t lose as much.

As much as possible, have at least one or two credit cards. Too much credit cards in your wallet can indulge you in buying something you don’t really need. You just buy it because you know you can. However, you’re not sure if you can pay off your debt when the occasion arises.


If you want to cut down on high credit card bills, you can:

– Pay cash instead

– Limit yourself on charging. Record it and do your best to not exceed that amount. You must always, always keep track.

– Choose the credit card which offers the lowest interest rate and has no annual fee.

– Just because you’re getting a free gift or a discount on a purchase, you’ll sign up for that credit card. This is their marketing strategy for possible customers.

– Most importantly, pay bills on time. This is for you to avoid late charges, plus additional interests.

Just bear this in mind: if you don’t pay on time then it would be reflected on your credit history. This could result to you having a hard time borrowing the next time. Banks and other credit lenders check your credit history before they grant your loan. Creditors look at the recent two-year history and those who have credit record that contains a lot of late payments, delinquencies or defaults may not be able to get the loan.

To put it simply, in order for you to invest, the best advice we could give is to choose the right loan.

Look for the lowest interest rate. The interest that you save can be spent on other investments.

Studies show that by increasing your monthly payments, it can shorten the payment term on your loan. The longer you wait, the higher the interest you’re paying. Besides, signing up for a shorter payment term equals less agony when it comes to coming up with the money to pay the debt.

The key is maximizing your net worth by minimizing your liabilities and maximizing your assets. Know how much you have and strategize on how you can increase it without losing much of it just to pay for debts.