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.

5 Smart Tips To Manage Money With Your Honey

Jean Chatzky’s advice to help couples avoid fighting over financial issues

One of the hardest parts of a marriage or any other type of long-term relationship is managing the money: The guilt or worry that comes with spending money that’s no longer “yours,” but “ours”; the questions about why this month’s Visa bill is sky-high; and the resentment you feel when your partner comes home with a new outfit that was paid for, in part, by your paycheck.

So what do you do when your partner is a spender and you’re a saver? When your spouse’s idea of a long-term goal is saving for next summer’s vacation, not the kids’ college tuition? Or when you make the maximum contribution to your 401(k) and still toss and turn at night worrying about your retirement, while your partner sleeps soundly without a retirement plan at all?

It’s a sticky situation, no doubt about it. That’s why “The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money — and Live Richly Ever After,” (Collins) a new book by Sharon Epperson, a CNBC correspondent, really hit home with me.

“Payoff” examines key financial points you and your partner need to be in agreement on:

Keep separate accounts
There are more than a few benefits of a three-pot system, in which you each have an account and then share a house account for joint expenses, but mainly it helps eliminate feelings of guilt and resentment. It also lets you each have a hand in the daily finances. And, if the relationship takes a turn for the worst, you each have money in your own name.

Setting up a system like this is simple: Agree to deposit a certain amount (if your salaries are comparable) or percentage (if one partner makes a good deal more) into the shared account each pay period. The rest goes into your individual accounts.

Set a budget, together
As a couple, you have to get your priorities in line. Epperson and her husband sat down and agreed on what percentage of their income would go toward the things that are important to them. Her advice? Make sure you’re divvying up money that you can actually spend.

“I think the hardest part is for people to realize that your budget is not to be based on your full paycheck. It should be calculated after you’ve already taken money out for your savings,” says Epperson. Determine what your take-home pay is each month, then subtract about 10 percent for contributions toward savings. That leaves you with money you can throw toward things like transportation, debt, and mortgage or rent payments.

Plan
Major steps like buying a house, having children and retiring all play out better when you’ve taken the time to plan for them in advance.

“What I think is so important is to sit back and plan so you can lead your life a little more calmly,” explains Epperson. “When you have a game plan, you have a cushion, and with that comes a lot of peace of mind.” Talk about both your short-term goals (like that summer vacation), and your long-term goals (like retirement), and make sure you both have a similar picture of the future. And don’t forget to put some “just in case” money in a savings account that you can access in a pinch. There are some things, like layoffs or injuries, that just can’t be planned for.

Live within your means
It might sound simple, but I don’t just mean freezing the charge card in a block of ice. It’s easy to get in over your head, especially when it comes to housing.

If you’re ready to buy, and you’ve run all the numbers, go back over them and see if you’re missing anything. Did you account for lawn care? Taxes? The cost of living in that area? People too often forget to run this side of the equation, and end up struggling to meet the expenses that come with home ownership. The stress of this can put a real strain on any marriage. If you have to make sacrifices to make ends meet, be sure both partners are on board.

Talk about it
You can easily eliminate the problem of an insanely high credit card bill or an embarrassing bounced check by keeping each other informed of major expenditures.
It’s up to you to define “major,” but don’t let problems fester until it’s too late. If you’re angry about something, no matter how trivial, hash it out — but do it calmly. If that’s a goal deemed unachievable, enlist the help of a financial planner or adviser. Epperson and her husband did.

“One of the things that came out of that meeting was real goals. Our goals were really just immediate, and having an initial meeting forced us to start talking,” she explains. A good adviser will offer an initial consultation for free, so you can go in, lay out the facts of your situation, and find out how he or she can help before you have to pay up.

7 Tips To Manage Your Money Better

Cash flow is the fuel that keeps a business running smoothly. To make sure your company isn’t running on empty, check your current practices against these techniques used by the top money managers.

1. Create a cash flow budget.
A cash flow budget helps to ensure that you can comfortably pay all your expenses and enables you to manage your revenues and expenses proactively.

Key components include a sales/revenue forecast; anticipated inflows, such as accounts receivable; anticipated outflows, such as cost of goods sold; debt repayments; and operating expenses.

It’s important to keep your cash flow budget up-to-date and to make sure that it reflects changes in your operating environment and your plans for your business.

2. Know the sensitivities in your cash flow.
It’s important to pin down which items – such as price, volume, or overheads – will have the most impact on your cash flow.
Cost of goods sold, for example, has a significant impact on your cash flow, yet is difficult for you to change. At the same time, competitive pressures may prevent you from increasing prices.
Cash flow is also affected by inventory days and accounts receivable days.

3. Manage the credit you are extending to your customers.
There are a number of different ways to improve how you manage your receivables.
Establishing effective credit policies is an important part of successful cash flow management.
You might also think about how you can encourage clients to pay more quickly. For example, consider discounts for early payments, or charge interest on accounts that are past due.

While interest and late charges may actually become a source of income for your business, it’s important to apply some due diligence. Extremely late payments are more likely to become write-offs and will also keep some of your working capital tied up.

4. Keep your payables up-to-date.
Regularly reviewing your accounts payable schedule helps determine how well you are keeping up with your credit obligations.
A useful practice is to have an “aging schedule,” which shows you how much you owe, to whom, and whether you are current or past due on any bills.

5. Reduce expenses.
Look for ways to cut back: for example, can the cost of promotional materials (such as printing or production) be reduced without compromising their quality and impact?
When business volume steps up, bring in temporary, contract, or part-time help before committing to additional full-time staff.
An independent audit may reveal redundancies and inefficiencies that you can address.

6. Use credit effectively.
The best credit facility will depend on your company’s individual circumstances, business plans, and existing credit facilities.

For example, term loans are ideal for long-term capital purchases, while lines of credit can be used to meet short-term working capital requirements or to take advantage of unexpected business opportunities.

7. Put your company’s surplus cash flow to work.
Assess how much money you need to set aside for emergencies.
To do this, review your company’s cash flow history for any patterns.
As well, consider how potential changes in the economy, such as currency or interest rate fluctuations, could affect your revenues or expenses.

Any surplus in your cash flow can be used for business expansion, to pay off debts, or to maintain a certain level of working capital.

Tips On How To Save Money While Traveling

You can enjoy your travels without having to spend more than what you can afford. Besides, traveling doesn’t have to be very expensive, especially if you are miles away from home. Doing so can put a great impact on your finances and can drain your money even before you are scheduled to fly back home.

Here are some economical tips to keep you on track and enjoy your travel with more money in your pocket.

1. Try to make a budget first

Before you start your travel or after arriving at your destination, it is best to have a good budget with you. Try to set a budget for the week. In this way, you get to keep your expenses and finances tightly intact. For instance, if your budget for the week is only $100, try to stick to it.

Without a budget, you will be tempted to buy this and that.

2. Have a map

To save more money on your transportation expenses, always have a map with you. In this way, you can anticipate the best and the most economical way to your destination. You get to avoid taking cabs or special trips just to get to your destination.

3. Bring your own gadgets

To save more while traveling, it is best that you have brought every gadget or item that you will need. In this way, you can cut back on the cost of having to rent some of the gadgets that you might use.

For example, try to bring your own camera instead of getting your pictures taken by a local photographer. With a good camera, you can take pictures you want without having to worry about extra charges.

4. Do your homework

Before you head to your destination, it is best that you know something about the place. This will allow you to steer clear from unnecessary spending while on travel. Places may differ depending on the area’s pattern of living.

For example, if the place you are about to visit has a luxurious type of living, it is best to keep track of your expenses to save more money. Try not to spend on things that aren’t necessary to avoid going overboard on your budget.

Things like these can be very helpful to save more money even if you travel to places were the standard of living is expensive. It only takes a smart traveler to do so.

The Best Insurance Saving Tips

Insurance provides “risk management solutions” to consumers to evade possible danger of financial shortfall. If you know how to buy good insurance policies, you can definitely save more money.

However, not all insurances are equal. Insurance policies may differ depending on the type of coverage they provide. So it is best to be aware of these things to avoid further charges.

Here are some of the best tips that you can find to help you in choosing the best type of insurance that you need and still cash out some great savings.

1. Do your assignment

To cut back unnecessary expenses on insurances, it is best to learn everything about the insurance policy first. In this way, you will know the necessary rates available and the particular items you are required to pay. Not all charges are deemed necessary, depending on the type of insurance policy that you have.

If you know your way around, you won’t be lured to pay things that are, in reality, not required.

2. Get quotes and compare

To save more money on insurances, it is best to get price quotes first. In this way, you get to compare the rates as well as the essential charges stipulated within a particular policy.

Once you have a good quote, try to assess the important factors that can affect them. Remember, price quotes aren’t the actual rates of insurance. They are just estimates of the definite rates of insurances.

Prices may still vary depending on the nature of the insurance. Nevertheless, quotes can be very helpful in assessing the estimated cost of insurance.

3. Get the coverage that you need

It does pay to ensure you and your family’s future by getting insurances such as life insurance, auto insurance, or mortgage insurance.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get every protection that your insurance can provide you. For instance, if you don’t drive your own car, it is best not to get auto insurance.

Statistical reports show that nearly 65% of insurance policy holders are paying extra premiums that they really don’t need. Just imagine how many dollars they can save if they will shun away from those extra payments.

Getting the insurance coverage that you need can save you thousands of dollars. Paying premiums that you can’t use in the future will only be a total waste of time and money.

Try not to be conscious in getting an insurance policy. This will lessen the burden of having to pay more than what you can afford.

As they say, less worries means less expenses.

Saving Money For College

College students may find it really challenging budgeting their expenses while studying. Tuition fees, expenses on books and other miscellaneous fees have increased drastically nowadays. You may find students using photocopies of textbooks instead of buying expensive books.

You may also save more money by inquiring on a government college credit program. These programs will help you on your tuition fees, college books, and miscellaneous fees. You may ask your high school guidance counselor on how you can be qualified on these government credit programs.

As a student, you should find ways on how you can save money and limit your expenses on your college studies. Here are some tips on how to save more money while you are in college.

1. Find stores that sell second hand textbooks. You may also sell you old textbooks so that you can save more money on buying new or used textbooks.

2. Budget your daily expenditures and allot only what you will need for the day. Stick to that plan and you will realize the importance of budgeting yourself to what you only need.

3. You may try applying for a financial aid at the college admission section. If you are qualified, they will offer you a discount for your tuition and other miscellaneous fees.

4. Try to shop around for stores that offer discounts for college students on selected items. You may use debit cards if you have a checking account instead of using your credit cards in purchasing personal things.

5. Look for an apartment near campus. Make sure the price of the rent is reasonable enough for college students. Look for friends or future classmates who are looking for a place to stay. You may share one apartment so that the price of the rent wouldn’t be that heavy for you.

6. Decide on what course you will take up in college. In this way, you can prepare early and buy the books that you will need in advance. You may buy books online where prices are cheaper compared to bookstores near the campus.

You may also find a part time job inside the campus. Colleges offer jobs for qualified students. You may also be offered a scholarship as long you maintain the required average while you are working at school. You will also gain some work experience that may be added on your resume for future job applications once you finish college.

Save On Your Vacations

It is true that after all saving and cutting down all the expenses from other things like clothes, appliances and groceries, you and your family deserves a well planned vacation at least once a year.

However, it is still imperative to save as much as you can while having your vacation. Especially, while you are on vacation, more often than not, the budget is tough thing to keep.

Here are the ways on how you can save on your vacations:

Ø Save on Air fares – Make arrangements and book your flights ahead of time. Airlines normally have promos if you purchase your tickets in advance. Also, Airline tickets sell evening flights a little cheaper than those of the day flights.

If you are purchasing your Airline tickets from the travel agencies in your area, make sure to scout for the best deal of the ticket prices. When buying tickets for your family or for four or more passengers, there will be special discounts, be sure to ask for these opportunities to save.

Ø If possible, plan your vacation during the off-peak seasons. The travel agency has its peak and off-peak seasons. Make sure to research these dates. Every destination has its own determination of peaks seasons. Air fares and hotel accommodation are much cheaper during the lean seasons.

Ø Make sure to bring packaged snacks that are purchased at supermarkets. Eating and dining out in restaurants can be really expensive especially if you are traveling in groups.

Ø For road / land trips, as much as possible, bring your own car for your tour. Car rentals can be really expensive and unnecessary. Don’t forget an auto-check up from your favorite and trusted mechanic before leaving for vacation.

Don’t forget to fill your gas tank. This will allow you to shop for cheap gasoline stations and avoid unplanned stops along the way.

Ø Don’t pay for your vacation in credit unless you are very certain that you can pay on time. Interests on such credit can be a burden especially after having fun on your vacation.

Ø Don’t forget to turn off the possible on going expenses while you away on vacation. Discontinue your newspaper deliveries. Temporarily cancel your internet service when on vacation for more than a month. Turn off your gas and electric heater when you are away from home.

Ø Planning in advance can help you save with your budget. Prepare proper clothes to bring for the destination. Buying emergency clothes for cold climate can be really costly and should be avoided since you can pack all these from home. In this way, you can spend your vacation money on other important things.

Ø Always keep your receipts and track your records for all the expenses during the vacation. These can help for future vacations and can also be deductibles for taxes if you are on business trips.

Ø Plan for your Accommodation – considering homes of relatives or close friends can help you save on your vacation. You can also choose paid accommodations with cooking facilities. This can help you save money from eating out at restaurants. Take advantage of special offers from hotels or motels offering “family” rates.

Ø Be sure to take advantage of free tourist attractions such as parks, museums, free gardens and monuments.

Ø Consider an adventure trip or “camping” vacation. This is really cheap and fun. Some national parks and forest camp grounds can only charge you minimal fee for your stay, and some even let you rent your tents. The idea of marshmallow with hotdogs on your bonfire can be really exiting.

Ø Don’t forget to budget your money for your souvenir allowance. Don’t buy unnecessary souvenir items that can only be sold at your garage sale the following year. Buy something useful.

Ø Be sure to have portable irons when traveling. Press jobs at the hotels are really expensive.

Ø Don’t forget to bring your first aid kit that should contain, medicines, alcohol, and stuffs that can heal minor bruises and cuts.

Ø Leave and entrust your pets to your friends or families instead of bringing them along.

How To Reduce Debt

When people don’t have enough money around, many have no choice but to borrow. Those that give a lot are banks and other lending institutions that will want this paid back with interest. The payment terms are reasonable and returning a little each month on time is all that these creditors ask for.

There are many ways to reduce the debt. By thinking of ways to deal with it, the person can overcome this obstacle and look ahead for the future. Here are a few ways tips that are worth doing;

1. People who think this can be solved within the means can set up a budget. This means only spending for necessary things for a while and neglecting the luxuries. Everything should be paid in cash reducing the use of credit cards.

A good rule is only using the card when there is enough money in the wallet if this was to be paid in cash. If it exceeds then the individual shouldn’t because this will all amount to something bigger when the bill comes at the end of the month.

2. The debtor can apply for apply for a home equity loan. This allows the owner to use the home as collateral, which can be paid back under a fixed term quite different from the regular one offered at the bank.

3. Another could be getting a second job. Though this may be tiring, the extra cash can help the employee pay off the monthly amortization on time thus reducing any penalties.

4. If there are some things in the home that aren’t being used anymore but are in good condition, these can be sold off for extra cash. This can be done by offering this to a pawnshop, holding a garage sale or featuring them on eBay. There are many venues and it just takes some time to find out which is the best.

5. Some people who have tried all the possible means have no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. This may offer the person some protection against the creditors but the borrower will be on the blacklist for the next 7 to 10 years making it difficult to get a loan in the future.

The credit rating can be built again by starting from scratch so that banks can give the individual a second chance.

Reducing the debt won’t be easy and working hard to achieve it will be the only way to get the banks off the person’s back.

Find Your Hidden Money

When you sign up for loans, you pay them within a year, five years at most. Individual credit unions offer special loan rates that are beneficial to the borrower. A number of people consider signing up for credit union loans.

The features of a credit union loan are:

· The insurance of the loan isn’t a direct cost to the eligible borrower

· There is an offer of a repayment protection insurance

· There are no hidden fees or transaction charges whatsoever

· Repayments are calculated depending on the reducing balance of the total loan. Smaller interest repayments are relative on how frequent you repay your loan.

· There is a variety of repayment loans to choose from, depending on the livelihood of the borrower.

· It is so flexible that the borrower can repay the loan before the due or he can make large repayments than what had been agreed on without any penalty whatsoever.

· The additional lump sum repayments the borrower has paid will be accepted without penalty.

Credit Unions are like banks but the former has some unique characteristics. It is often mistaken as banks when in fact , an educated customer would take advantage of the best deal that is offered at Credit Unions and not at banks.

First and foremost, credit unions are owned by the customers. This is as opposed to banks where the possible clients are the customers. Banks prioritize profit and the shareholders usually own the bank.

On the other hand, credit unions are organizations that are non-profit. Their goal is to provide service over profitability.

One might ask, if the bank has shareholders who run the management of the institute, then who runs the credit union?

The upper management is composed of board directors deciding on the operations of the credit union. These are elected volunteers. They don’t do it for the salary. They are the members who want their opinion to be heard on how the institute should be run.

One can be a Credit Union member if they share a common bond. These are people of the same geographic community, a workplace or a religion.

That’s why credit unions are different to banks. That’s because their offer is limited to their members. But it’s harder for them to achieve credibility because if a credit union isn’t able to limit membership, then they lose their status as a credit union.

That’s why there’s hidden money to credit unions. Credit unions offer the same services and products as the larger banks do but the credit unions don’t have the same amount of volume as the banks.

Small credit unions can challenge banks when it comes to the income they generate. Credit unions have the tendency to focus on service over profit, that’s why the rate is always better at the credit union.

Don’t worry. Your money will be as safe in credit unions as it will be in bank deposits. As explained above, because of the cheaper down payment a member gives to a credit union, compared to the bank, there is hidden money for him.

Another direction you could look at is hidden money on home equity loans. As a homeowner, home equity loans allow to use your equity as the collateral. Equity is the funds you have that you could use to the property in order to invest it.

The hidden money here is that since it is a debt on your property that is in your possession which secures your debt loan. If the creditor wants his money back, then it can be sold. A home equity loan can either have a fixed rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage.

The expenses that make a home equity loan useful are medical bills, debt consolidation and home repairs. The tax benefit for families who have home equity loans can enjoy a home equity rate loan that is charged as tax deductible. It’s because the loan is used for primary functions. All these means lower monthly payment rate – making you save more.

It’s always practical to save on your expenses. That is why as much as possible we suggest that you look up credit unions as opposed to banks and you sign up for home equity loan than the home mortgage. If you write it on a piece of paper, you’ll discover that you can actually save more with credit unions and home equity rates.

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.