Even after the craziness of applying to college, earning an acceptance letter and selecting a school, incoming freshmen still have some college preparations to do. Financially preparing for college is an essential step to surviving your first year off at school. Here are 4 ways you can financially prepare for college.
- Get your own account. First things first, if you haven’t already, you will need your own checking account. The credit union offers a special free Checking Account that will make it easy for you to be able to manage your own money while at school. With your account, you’ll get a debit card which will make it easy to purchase essential items without the worry of carrying around cash.
- Stockpile some money. As you prepare to head off to college, you will quickly find out how expensive it is to live on your own. Everything from your meals to your everyday essentials are now on you! Take the summer before you go off to school to save a stockpile for yourself. Believe me, you’ll appreciate this extra money!
- Learn how to budget. You have your own account, you have some money stashed away, and now it’s time to learn how to budget your money so that it lasts. Expenses quickly add up and you’ll need to be sure you have enough both your everyday needs and any emergencies that might pop up while you’re at school. You might even consider opening a small credit card to assist with your expenses, but also build your credit.
- Consider borrowing less. A financial aid award letter may offer a certain amount in loans, but be cautious on how much money you take out in assistance. Some students take the full amount and find themselves paying it back for a very long time. Student loans are no joke and should be taken seriously. The amount you borrow can stick with you and affect everything you plan on getting in the future, like an auto or mortgage loan. Consider carefully how much you need to take and know your options for tuition assistance. Apply for scholarships, find an on-campus job or internship and budget accordingly to help reduce the overall amount that you borrow.
Going to college can be stressful, but it should be fun too! Don’t add any financial stress to the mix. Preparing yourself with the steps listed above can make your first semester go more smoothly. Always remember, your credit union is here to help you every step of the way.
Until next time,