In this day and age, we all know that money matters. Money matters A LOT. Specifically, how you manage your money matters a lot, as it will impact most areas of your life. The ability to understand the ins and outs of how money works in the world is called Financial Literacy.
Financial Literacy is increasingly important, especially amongst college students. It is tempting to adopt a "I'll worry about all that later" attitude towards personal finance when you're in college. We totally get it: you're busy with homework, part time jobs, and obligations at home. But, what about the obligation to your future self? Downplaying financial problems, and lack of financial planning does not make these issues go away. In the same way that having money makes life seem a bit easier, having poor money management skills makes life seem significantly harder. Do your future self a huge favor, and get informed! This page is here to help you do that.
To start check,out this eye-opening article on the biggest money mistake college grads make
Why Budgeting Is Awesome:
One of the best financial decisions you can make is to create and follow a budget. Budgets help you plan for what you know is going to happen, and also for what you don't know is going to happen! By following a budget, you will save yourself a ton of stress. You will also end up paying more attention to where your money goes, which in turn will drive you to develop better spending habits.
Video from Federal Student Aid to get you started
- Lifehacker: 5 Best Finance Tools
- Financial Literacy For College Students
Checkbook balancing tool
Money Management Tips For College Students
Credit Cards and Credit Scores:
Love them or hate them, you're an adult now and you will receive hundreds of offers for credit cards in the mail. Credit cards can get you out of a quick jam, but you have to be careful. While they might seem harmless at first, they could end up doing you far more harm than good. This is because essentially, you're spending money that you don't have.
Just like with a loan, you are charged interest to borrow this money. If you don't know what an interest rate is or how they work, that's a good indicator that you probably shouldn't be using a credit card until you do some research. With current interest rates being what they are, you'll be paying a lot to borrow this money. Don't fall into the credit card trap that many of your peers do. Only use credit cards responsibly, or don't use them at all.
Free Credit Report
Article on how to rebuild credit
One of the biggest issues for today's college students is how to afford to live and go to school at the same time. For this reason, a lot of students end up working part-time or even full-time while they are in school. Additionally, more and more students are taking on personal debt in the form of student loans.
A common phrase you may hear when student loans are discussed is that they are "good debt." Thinking of student loans in this way is an incredibly slippery slope, and can get the future you into trouble. Remember the only "good debt" you can truly have is no debt.
Student loans can be a helpful resource when it is absolutely necessary to borrow in order to pay for your tuition charges, student fees, and assist in housing costs. It is very important to know when and where to draw the line on borrowing.
Click here to find out the most common mistakes you can make when taking on student loan debt.
Video from Federal Student Aid on Responsible Borrowing
How to Manage your Loans
Calculate your estimated loan payments BEFORE borrowing
Congratulations! You did it! You graduated!!! Take a moment to savor the feeling of being a college grad, but don't let that moment last too long. We will send you Exit Counseling for the loans you took out. Your first step after graduation is to complete this counseling, and pay attention to the information! It will be useful.
Repayment: Most students have a one-time six-month grace period on their federal loans. That six months tends to fly by, so don't wait until the last minute to look at your repayment options. There are tons! Your loan servicer is happy to work out a plan that works best for you, so contact them and make sure you understand your options. Look at the plans offered. Ask questions. Choose what works for you.
By assessing your loan repayment plans before the six month period is up, you'll save yourself the headache of having it looming in the back of your mind. Take care of it now, and then enjoy the rest of your grace period!
Here is a video from Federal Student Aid to help you better understand repayment
Look up information for your servicer on www.nslds.gov
Remember, federal student loans aren't like other debt; even bankruptcy will not make them go away! Do not default (stop making payments) on these loans. It will be a SERIOUS detriment to your financial well-being, as well as your financial future if you default. Defaulting will affect your ability to rent a home, buy a home, buy a car, have a credit card, etc. Contact your servicer if you run into problems making payments along the road. They will give you your options, and help you out!
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