Tips for Handling College Finances

Staples students explain how they handle their finances during college. | Photo courtesy of SXC

Staples students explain how they handle their finances during college. | Photo courtesy of SXC

Sam Freeman ’11
Web A&E Editor

Staples students explain how they handle their finances during college. | Photo courtesy of SXC

“Don’t spend your money on stupid things like scooters and bikes to get around campus, you’ll need almost all of your money for a lot of food and books,” said Zach Fishoff ’09, who is attending Keene State College in N.H.

One could compose a list of essential items each month like toiletries and food in order to control expenditures. Also, since most students do not have a steady income, money will not be pouring into you bank account.

Yarden Orly ’09, who currently attends High Point University in N.C., says college has impacted the way he manages his money.

“I’m a lot more cautious with my money because I know if I spend all my money, it can be a few weeks or months until I have anymore,” said Orly. So remember, be cautious and don’t spend money carelessly.

Create a Budget

Making a budget is probably the most important thing to do before you start spending money.

This budget should be realistic. Remember the little things like laundry and public transportation while trying to not be as focused on clothes and other insignificant items. Staying on a budget will only help later.

Get a Job

It may seem too hard to handle school and a job when entering college, but there are simple ways to earn money, while getting involved in the community.

A fun and easy way to earn cash is to become a campus tour guide. Since there are always events occuring on campus, such tours are not hard to come by.

“Look for quick and easy surveys around campus with compensation!” said Lauren Selikoff, who is currently attending University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. “They’re super easy and you get quick money from them.”

And in addition to earning money, jobs like tours – and even partcipation in on–campus surveys – are also an enjoyable way to get involved when beginning college.

Talk with Parents

While it’s often easy to disagree, sometimes parents really do know best.

Consulting them will be beneficial in managing finances and mapping out a plan to prevent financial debt.

Together, decide whether to use a debit or credit card, while weighing the advantages and responsibilities that come with each.

“I got a credit card the summer before going into college and my parent’s told me to be smart with my money,” said Fishoff.

Although credit cards are so popular, many believe that they are unsafe and cause serious damage when put into the hands of teenagers.

“Credit cards are good for emergencies, but sometimes kids get too carried away with them,” said guidance counselor Denise Honeycutt.

Parents can help managing finances by putting money on the card each month and being able to see what the money goes towards.

Selikoff says she uses a debit card “for essentials that are not involved in the food plan.” She is able to manage her card’s balance alongside her parents, which is helpful.

In many ways, the debit card forces communication between the parent and child,  believes Honeycutt.

As long as an open, communicative relationship is maintained with one’s parents, student debt can easily be avoided.