It’s time for college. Packing. Moving to the dorms. Registering for classes. Finding your way around campus. Buying books (so many books). Getting to know your new roommate.
But are you taking time to think about your money? Here are some things to consider before you head off to college.
What accounts do you need?
You’ll typically need an account for your daily expenses — and one your parents can add money to, if they’re helping with your expenses. And you’ll need an account to deposit your financial aid, including grants, loans, and work study earnings, and any income from a part-time job.
With mobile banking, you can keep using your credit union account, just like you do when you’re at home. If you don’t keep checks on hand, make sure you know our routing number (221183159) and your account number so you can give it to the bursar or financial aid office. They can use that information to direct deposit your financial aid. And you can deposit any checks you receive through our mobile app.
What kind of budget do you need?
Most financial aid is disbursed at the beginning of the term or semester, and it needs to last until the next. This means you need to be careful with your spending to ensure that you’ve got enough to cover housing, food, and other expenses.
Take the entire amount you have left after tuition, fees, and books, then divide it by the number of months it has to last. If your living in the dorm, they’ve likely already taken out your housing costs and meal allowance. If not, ensure that you’re covering your rent and food in each month’s budget. If you are concerned about your ability to avoid spending funds in your checking account, move the excess to your savings account and leave only the first month’s funds in checking. At the first of the next month, transfer over that month’s funds, and so on throughout the term or semester.
How can you stretch your budget?
All those stories about starving college students? That doesn’t need to be you. Yes, you need to stick to a budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat only grocery store ramen packets for months on end. There are a lot of ways to save money and still have fun.
Put a coffee maker in your room to save a lot on coffee each day. When you’re buying your books, grab an insulated logo tumbler that will keep your coffee hot as you go from class to class.
Look for free or low-cost on-campus events, such as movies and concerts. This will let you and your friends have a night out without spending a ton of money.
If you’re into sports, take advantage of your free or discounted student tickets. The student section is always a blast, no matter which sport you’re attending.
And for off-campus outings, some colleges offer subsidized public transportation. This means you don’t need to maintain a car while you’re at school, saving a lot on parking, gas, and insurance.
Finally, don’t forget to ask for your student discounts. Many businesses offer great deals for students — because they know how hard it can be to manage your money when you’re in school.
Need more help figuring out how to get through college on a student budget? Give us a call at 800-722-2936. We’re glad to help.