The weekend is here and your wallet is empty. There’s nothing inside but some pennies and a gum wrapper. Your best friend quoted the evening agenda, "movie, party, club." Guess you’re staying home tonight unless you have a secret cash stash hidden somewhere.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen to you. Learn how to manage your money properly and you’ll be surprised at the amount of cash you save. Check out what some students say about how they spend their money.
"The majority of my money goes to clothes and entertainment," says Justin Spiro, a freshman at George Washington University.
"Food, sorority dues and books probably cost the most," adds Jenn Fox, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida.
Some college advisors say that more students drop out due to financial debt than any other reason. Don’t fall into that trap.
We’ve compiled a list of six smart tips to better organize your money. Look over these tips, and find ways to make them a part of your daily life. No one wants to be in debt for the rest of his life. College can seem like a breeze until your wallet’s empty and the bills keep coming. Enjoy yourself but remember to budget your bucks.
1. WRITE IT DOWN. Get a financial record started; any sized notebook will do. Set up the book so that you have a space to write down what you spend and when you spent it. Have another section to keep track of your required expenses for each month (i.e., gas, food). Write down the exact income you expect to have per month whether it be from your parents, financial aid or job. This will enable you to become a better consumer as well as keep track of your funds.
2. CHECK YOUR OPTIONS. Speak with your parents and bank representatives about the different products they offer college students. Most banks and credit card companies have plenty of programs for student use only. Credit cards are convenient but they can also work against you. Try to use cash when making purchases and save credit cards for emergencies. Track all of your transactions in your financial book.
Warning: Transactions are not usually posted on the weekends, so ATMs can give a false account balance. Sometimes your check/debit cards will work even if the funds aren’t available. However, banks often charge a big fee for overdrawn accounts.
3. SAVE THE SLIPS. Keep track of all your receipts – yes, even the ones at the gas station. Place them right into your financial record book. If you are ever charged incorrectly, you’ll have proof of what you actually spent.
4. DON’T OVERSPEND. Only buy what you absolutely need. You can always go back to the store and buy more. You never know when a parking ticket or other surprise expense will come up. Start a savings account. Daily necessities tend to eat away at your wallet so watch what you spend.
5. KEEP IT CLEAN. Organize your license, cash, coins, Blockbuster card and other items in your wallet or purse. An organized wallet makes it easier to keep track of your expenses. Hold on to coupons and discount cards. They’ll come in handy when your budget gets tight.
6. PAY UP. Pay your bills in full as they come in. Don’t let your credit card balance get out of hand. The interest rates will kick in eventually and you will owe more than you can afford. Paying the full balance each time will force you to stay on top of your expenses.
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