August 29, 2005 -- The new school
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year is approaching and soon many recent high school graduates will venture into a new segment of their lives, the college years. Apart from getting used to the heavy course loads and assignments, students have to learn
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to handle their finances in a mature manner which involves good judgment and smart spending. The following tips and guidelines are created to help college students adapt to their new life style in a financially smart manner.
Create a Personal Budget
Any personal finance expert will tell you that creating and following a personal budget is the smartest method in being financially efficient. A personal budget will spell out exactly how much money you have and what your expenses are. This method will refrain students from overspending and will also teach them to live within their means.
All students should allocate some time to research and apply for scholarships and grants, which can alleviate some of the financial pressure put on by college related expenses. Students should also shop around for student loans and look for the best possible interest rate. Students should choose a loan program that initiates charging interest only after they graduate from college. These types of loan programs can save students thousands of dollars in interest charges.
With an average textbook priced at well above a $100, college students should look into buying used textbooks from other students or bookstores. Students should keep a close vigilance on campus fliers and student newspapers for possible textbook bargains. Internet based textbook retailers such as www.collegetext.com enables students to sell, buy and trade textbooks with other students.
Protect Your Identity
Protecting sensitive personal information has been a major hurdle for many college students who reside in campus dorms. According to www.bankrate.com, 49 percent of college students receive credit card applications on a daily or weekly basis and almost 30 percent of students throw out credit card applications without destroying them. Also, since most of the universities use students’ social security number as the primary student ID number, these students face an additional risk of loosing their personal information to prying identity thieves.
To minimize this threat, students should refrain from storing significant personal documentations such as, social security cards, passports, birth certificates, PIN numbers and other important documents in their campus dorm rooms. Students can also request universities to stop using their social security number as their primary student ID number and ask them to assign a random student ID number.
Go Easy on Credit Cards
Nowadays, all college students have at least 2-5 credit cards in their wallets and almost all of them use it for their everyday purchases. Credit cards are useful and efficient as long as you pay off your balance in full each month. If you have a habit of charging everything to your Visa or MasterCard and payoff only the minimum payment due each month, you will end up with thousands of dollars in credit card debt when you leave college after four years.
Other Ways to Cut Back on Expenses
Students can cut back on everyday expenses by looking for good deals around campus. Almost all merchants near major universities offer discounts to students and these savings can save hundreds of dollars in the long run. Most universities offer its students free gym access and medical services, which can be quite expensive outside the campus. Inexpensive transportation passes, discounted calling cards, discounted movie passes, free wireless Internet access are some of the other ways of cutting down your expenses during your college years.
CreditGUARD of America is a non-profit credit counseling agency that assists consumers through debt counseling and financial education
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. Please visit our web site at www.creditguard.org or call 1-800-867-0406 for a free consultation with a certified credit counselor.