If you’re going off to college, or are already a current student, you should know some financial basics that will help keep you out of money trouble. Here are some ways for college students to succeed financially:
- Develop a spending plan. Learn how to live within your means by tracking and planning your spending.
- Have a one-credit-card limit. Multiple cards not only look bad on the credit report, they also provide a greater window of spending opportunity. Students with multiple cards can fall more quickly into debt problems. Limit yourself to one card.
- Keep the limit low. Credit card issuers increase the credit limit in the hopes you spend more and they can charge you interest to earn their profit. By requesting that the limit be kept low, future temptations can be avoided.
- Monitor online shopping. This can be very dangerous, because Internet shopping is available at all times. Purchases are easily forgotten, and can add up quickly. Be careful about the dangers and monitor your shopping habits.
- Discuss checking accounts. Many students enter college not knowing how to manage their account or how to balance their checkbook. Discuss the procedures and stipulations with someone who can answer your questions.
- Consider debit cards. These are a good option for young adults. They offer the convenience of a credit card but deduct money already deposited into your checking account. These cards can help avoid massive amounts of debt. But be careful of overdraft charges and the negative effects of them.
Finally, be aware that your financial history can affect your future. A credit report serves as a “second résumé” for college graduates seeking employment. Once fallen into debt, many students don’t realize how long it takes to pay off the debt, how much they end up paying in accrued interest, and how detrimental it can be to future plans.
Take the time now to talk with your parents about financial management.
Source: InCharge Institute of America
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