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How can I manage my finances in college?

I don't have any financial knowledge on how I should be handling my money in college and I am not able to rely on my parents or ask them for help on such things.

#july20 #collegestudent #finances #help


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John’s Answer

Bao-Truc your college years have the potential to become the most unforgettable time of your life — as is the case for many students. Usually, this time is filled with a sense of freedom, parties, nights and weeks of studies, love, and friendship. It’s a pity, but financial errors and troubles can be a part of your college years as well, and for some, it may take several decades to get over the consequences of one mistake. Here are five of the most common financial mistakes you should avoid to enjoy the most of your student life.

THE 7 WORST FINANCIAL MISTAKES COLLEGE STUDENTS CAN MAKE

1.) NOT FILLING OUT THE FAFSA
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be your first step to help you pay for college. Students who skip this critical first step of their college journey are missing out on potential grants, scholarships and subsidized loans. This mistake is an easy one to avoid — just go to FAFSA.gov and get your form filled out! Ah, the budget… The start of a new school year should begin with a budget that includes a breakdown of all monthly bills, expenses, groceries, and an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. And yet, many students fail to implement the art of budgeting into their daily lives. College is the best time to build good budgeting habits that can benefit you beyond college. Come up with a budget and stick to it — you’ll be glad you did when it comes time to pay the bills.

2.) DON’T OVERPAY FOR COLLEGE
Does the name of the school on your diploma matter? In some cases, yes it does. In other career paths, perhaps not so much. Many students dream of going to a prestigious school or head out of state, but this may not be the best decision financially. With some degrees, it may not matter as much where your degree comes from so spending an extra $100,000 on a degree may be wasteful.
Choosing a less expensive public university or attending a community college for the first two years then transferring may be the better option, cost-wise. Before enrolling in your dream school, consider what the true return on investment may be. Take time to explore other options and see if a prestigious school is the only way to pursue your chosen career path. You may find that a different school proves to be the better bargain and in doing so, you'll position yourself to begin your professional career with less student debt.

3.) ACQUIRING CEDIT CARD DEBT
If you pay attention, you will see that credit card companies are everywhere around the campus! These companies are ready to offer students that are not literate about finances credit cards that provide a possibility to purchase things now and pay for them later. The offer is tempting, but the cards offered may not be that good of a deal, having high interest rates and multiple layers of hidden fees. And the damage becomes noticeable only when it is too serious, affecting both your financial status and your credit rating for years to come. Credit cards should not be used to splurge or to fill in the gaps within your budget. Credit card debt generated during college can affect your credit score for years to come. Ultimately, it can hurt your chances of getting things like a car loan or mortgage down the road. Spend wisely and always pay on time.

4.) ABUSING STUDENT LOANS
Student loans are usually offered at favorable terms that fit in a borrower’s needs and possibilities, but those who take on student loans can get into financial trouble pretty quickly. Statistics say that the total amount of student loans debt in America is about $1 trillion, which is more than credit card debt. The trouble with student loans is that the universities and colleges will typically never say no to your borrowing, and so you can take out as much as you want — even if you will have no hope of ever repaying the loans. As such, it’s important that you really consider the costs of repaying the loans when you take them out. A rule of thumb is to avoid borrowing more for school than you plan to make in your first year after college. Researching potential jobs and salaries will give you a good reference point.

5.) DON’T OVERSTAY
Many students at the end of their studies still feel they are not ready to go and fight with the big and scary world, and prefer to stay in grad school and not leave the college. Sometimes it can really pay off, but usually such decisions work against the student — creating an even deeper debtor’s prison that would be hard to break out from. Students should be working toward what they need in school, and should go for the quickest way out. Being in a program for six or seven years doesn’t make a lot of financial sense. Skipping out on class may seem more like a personal bad habit than a financial one, but the fact is your time in the classroom costs money. When you don’t give your education your all, you’re squandering an important investment in your future. This can increase your chances of not passing a class, which can affect your graduation eligibility, FAFSA and loan requirements, and student organization participation. Staying committed to your studies is overall a financially smart move. However, you don’t get a refund if you fail. Instead, you have to pay to take the class… again.

6.) SOME THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
One of the biggest perks of being a college student is the array of discounts and freebies that become available to you. Avoid paying for items you can get for free. Pass on the expensive, monthly gym membership and take advantage of the campus gym. Skip your weekly trip to the movies and check out the free movie nights on campus. Keep an eye out for what’s available and put your student status to good use.

7.) PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Statistics say that a third of all identity theft is happening to people between 18 to 29 years of age, and the reason for this is their carelessness toward their personal information and sharing their personal information with their friends and roommates. Logging on to your financial account on public computers, using common areas for private banking info, and the mass use of all social media accounts helps predators find your personal information and can lead to identity theft. Be careful with your personal ID, passwords, and other information.

Hope this was Helpful Bao-Truc

Congratulations on 100 Questions Answered Dexter. There are two types of people in this world; those who see things happen and those who make things happen. John Frick

Thank You for your support Ro. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr. John Frick

Thank You Romy. “No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.” John Frick

Thank You Jasmine. “Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.” John Frick

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Madisen’s Answer

Hello! I would agree with all of the things that John said. I used to volunteer as a financial counselor in college, so I saw many of the financial mistakes students made, young and old alike. Here are some tips for success:

1. Enroll in a personal finance/financial literacy class- You can't learn everything you need to know from a couple of posts. Finance is a legal language that will be important to learn for college and the rest of your life. It is important to take a personal finance class that aims to help you increase your budgeting skills, manage debt and credit, and teaches you the basics of things like income taxes, retirement savings, and insurance. If there is not a class offered at your university or you want to start early, I would recommend https://www.khanacademy.org/college-careers-more/personal-finance or https://alison.com/course/financial-literacy.

2. Keep track of your education expenses- Every time you spend money on required educational expenses, ask for a receipt or save the electronic receipt to a file on your computer. Keeping track of all your education expenses will help you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, which is free money! If the IRS audits you, you need proof, so it is important to save receipts.

3. File your taxes as soon as you can- There are many fraudsters that like to steal the identity of young individuals because they will have a larger tax returns because of low wages and credit opportunities. Filing your taxes as early as possible will help prevent fraud. When you go to file your taxes, use a service called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, which is a free IRS tax-filing program to help individuals with income generally below $56,000.

4. REACH OUT FOR HELP- If you ever find yourself in a difficult financial place, reach out for help. There are many services that are aimed to help students. Make sure you turn to the right resources though, there should be free resources on campus like a financial counseling center, a food bank, and a financial aid office that can help. Don't turn to loan centers, credit card offers, or services that look like financial scams. There are so many people and organization that are willing to help you for free, but you have to ask for help.

5. Don't compare yourself with others- In general try not to compare yourself with others because you have really no idea what is going on with them especially when it comes to finances. I met with people that you would have thought were perfectly wealthy, but were drowning in debt. Most people keep that part of their life secret. Some people may seem like they have it all figured out, but even I, as a financial professional, don't have it all figured out and that is okay because this is a skill that takes continued learning and development.

Finances are a daunting task for everyone and we aren't taught these things in high school, so it important that we take the initiative to teach ourselves. These skills that you learn are going to help you be successful throughout your whole life.

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Regina’s Answer

Don't rule out the use of the functionality at your current bank or credit union. Most financial institutions have functionality that can help you with budgeting, show you assets or debts, and categorize where you typically spend your money within their Mobile App. There are also a few good Apps in the market to help you budget or organize your finances. There are a ton out there that will even help you set savings goals and show you the progress along the way. Not only that, they will also show you a timeline of how long it may take to achieve that goal with a your set budget. Qapital as an example. Most banks or credit unions have a personal financial management feature in their online banking/mobile app. Reach out to your bank/cu for help. It's free! And most likely, already available for you to use.

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Michele’s Answer

Seek out financial guidance from your school' - there are resources they make available fro students to help them manage their finances because this is a very common area of concern. Not only will they help you manage college expenses for tuition, books, etc. with scholarship, grant, and loan information, they can help you with personal financial management.

For personal finances, some key things to get you started:
Develop a budget - know how much money you have to work with each month and track expenses
Consider a ratio of 80% expense to income as a goal - which leaves you 20% as a safety fund to help manage unexpected expenses (they happen - so save even more if you can)
Keep a record of expenses and review them regularly to know where you are spending money and look for places where you are spending too much (eating out is a lot more expensive than cooking at home)
Balance your checkbook - don't depend on the available balance at the ATM to tell you what you can spend

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Romy’s Answer

Expanding on great previous responses, a huge tool for managing your finances really is keeping and continually tracking a budget. I cannot emphasize that enough because it is definitely something most college students and even adults do not put into practice but it is so valuable. There is a myriad of apps (Mint, YNAB, EveryDollar, PocketGuard, etc), as well as simple to complex Excel or Google Sheets templates available but whatever method you use, starting somewhere and sticking with it will be so beneficial.

Don't give up if it feels overwhelming at first - there are always people who will be willing to support you and will be more than happy to help!

Romy recommends the following next steps:

Check out different budgeting apps or manual budgeting templates and start tracking now - https://www.mint.com/budgeting-3/college-budget-template-keep-track-of-your-school-expenses

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Michele’s Answer

Seek out financial guidance from your school' - there are resources they make available fro students to help them manage their finances because this is a very common area of concern. Not only will they help you manage college expenses for tuition, books, etc. with scholarship, grant, and loan information, they can help you with personal financial management.

For personal finances, some key things to get you started:
Develop a budget - know how much money you have to work with each month and track expenses
Consider a ratio of 80% expense to income as a goal - which leaves you 20% as a safety fund to help manage unexpected expenses (they happen - so save even more if you can)
Keep a record of expenses and review them regularly to know where you are spending money and look for places where you are spending too much (eating out is a lot more expensive than cooking at home)
Balance your checkbook - don't depend on the available balance at the ATM to tell you what you can spend

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John’s Answer

Lots of good info from John and Madisen's info.

Get a note book or use a computer/Software like Excel and create a budget list. You start with current month and update this as you spend money. List how much money you have coming in each week/month at the top of the list. This is your income category. Then list your main expenses each month next, your expense category. When you subtract the two (Money - expenses), if positive then this is what you have left for other things you may want to buy. If negative, then that means' you're spending more than what you have. Review your expenses and see if there are things you should not be spending money on. The question you ask your self Is how do I reduce expenses or move them to a month when I may have more money.


If you don't have enough money then you'll need to find a part time job (College's may have some on campus), apply for student loans, etc.

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