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5 Financial Tips For New College Students

Going to college can be both frustrating and exciting at the same time. For many people, college is a learning experience that teaches many of the essentials of life. But in addition to just learning from books you are also learning how to live int he adult world. And a big part of that is managing your financial life. Here are five financial tips to help new students adjust to college life.

1) Create a Budget

The most important thing you can do while trying to save money in college is create a budget. Creating a budget is tricky because it is easy to create a budget, but sticking to it poses a challenge for many people.

The first step to creating a budget successfully is to create a budget that is reasonable. If you have expenses that exceed the total amount of your budget, you have not set a reasonable budget. Your budget should include your monthly expenses and leave a little room for mishaps, such as unexpected bills. When you have an extra amount in your budget for mishaps, it helps you stick to your budget.

Your budget should change with your current expenses. You may have one bill that you have to pay one month and not the next month. Set your budget according to your needs and financial goals.

2) Minimize Student Debt

ID-100340613One essential financial tip for new college students is minimizing student debt. One thing you want to try to do is get a job. It may be difficult to balance work and school the first month or two, but it is a good way to have a source of income to maintain your living expenses. Make sure you are spending money on necessities only. Eating fast food should be limited to two or three times each month. It may sound depressing, but you will be surprised at how quickly fast food expenses accumulate and how much money you can save when you do not eat out.

If you must get a student loan, only borrow what you absolutely need. Very few new college students are sent to college with a college trust fund and so most must rely at least to some extent on student loans which may include housing, tuition and textbooks. But loans should not be used to increase your standard of living or for going on an unlimited spending spree. You don’t want to saddle yourself with unnecessary debt just as you are starting life.

3) Get Organized

One of the most difficult things for most college students to do is get organized. Simple bills such as a cell phone bill are easily forgotten. Smartphone and iPhone apps, including Mint, and Bill Agent and Reminder are great for keeping your expenses and finances in order. Another app you can get on your Smartphone or iPhone is Exam Reminder. This app allows you to set date and time of exams, give or receive study tips and set reminders before the exam.

4) Purchase Cheap Textbooks

College textbooks are expensive. They can cost as much as $200 per book! There are a few ways you can save money on textbook purchases. Purchasing used textbooks are a great way to get what you need and save money. A lot of used textbooks are in excellent condition. Another way you can find cheap textbooks is to look on selling websites, such as Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist. A lot of students sell their books because they no longer need the book and need the money. It is a win-win situation for the seller and buyer. Frequently check your campus bulletin board for students who are selling textbooks. There are many websites, including Chegg, that allow you to rent textbooks to avoid paying the full price, ask questions and find an online tutor.

5) Protect Personal Information

As a college student, you are focused on receiving good grades, studying, homework and exams. Identity theft is probably the farthest thing from your mind, but it is something you should give a lot of attention. College students who range between the ages of 18 and 24 are frequent targets for identity theft. On average, students who fall in this age group took four and a half months to notice and report fraud. According to CBS News, as much as 31 percent of college students in the age group of 18 to 29 years old become victims of identity theft. Another way you can protect your personal information is shred the documents that contain your personal information instead of throwing them in the trash or tearing the paper in big pieces.

About the Author: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.