Money is not the solution to all our problems, but it can surely make a difference in the quality of life you can live. College is the perfect time to get your finances together or started. You have a lot of free time to handle your expenses, put together a financial plan, and learn to stick to it. Being responsible with your money is one way to grow into adulthood, grow a livelihood, and gain control of your life while you’re still young.
Here are four financial tips to set you apart in college.
1. Start building credit.
Another thing you can do while you’re in college is to start building your credit. Credit is basically money that you’ll need to use to make large purchases such as a house. Unless you’re wealthy, you’re most likely not going to be able to pay for your house in cash, so you’ll have to get a loan to pay for it while you’re living it. Your credit score will be one of the things that determine if a bank or financial institution thinks of you as responsible enough to get a loan and pay it back.
One of the ways you can start building your credit is by opening a credit card. There are many credit cards for students that can help you gain cashback on your purchases and help you in case of an emergency. The idea of using a credit card is to pay them off appropriately so you don’t have to worry about interests. Some of the most popular credit cards for students are Tangerine, BMO Cashback, HSBC + Rewards, and CIBC Dividends. Be sure to check out their rewards, annual fees, interest rates, and the minimum income you need to have to get them.
2. Get a job.
One of the first things you can do while in college to handle your finances responsibly is to get a job. It doesn’t matter where, if it’s a fast-food restaurant or paid internships in your field of study, just get a job. The idea is to start making an income as early as possible so you can do more with your money. If you’re living with your parents, you’ll have a lot of extra money from not having to pay housing and bills.
One of the things you can do as an outstanding high school student is join a nationwide organization like a national honor society. If you can get the chance to join the National Honor Society High School, find a way to join it. An active role in this honor society can give you access to many resources like programs to develop your leadership skills and scholarship opportunities that can get you to where you want to be, such as a position in local workplaces while you complete your undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
3. Make a budget.
Next, you’re going to want to make a budget for your expenses and savings. In your budget, you’ll want to make different categories so you can handle your money for each part of your life. Your categories can be things like rent, bills, groceries, transportation, subscriptions, savings, and entertainment—you can add more categories if necessary. The idea is to write down your essential and recurrent expenses and calculate a rough estimate of how much you spend each month, each week, or during your pay period. As time goes by, you’ll be better equipped to handle your money without overspending.
4. Pay off debt.
Lastly, if you have any debt whatsoever, it’s time to start paying it off. Whether your debt comes from your car payments, housing, credit card, and other sources, the ideal thing to do is pay them off as soon as you can. Sure, it will affect your credit score, but you will get it back in shape in no time.
Do these things to help you live a better life throughout your college years and beyond.