How to Make Smart Money Moves in College

Whether your college graduation is months (or years) away, it’s never too early to start planning for your financial future. The sooner you understand student loans and retirement funds, the better off you will be.

Set Up a Savings & Checking Account

A savings account allows you to save money for larger purchases or needs. Regularly deposit a portion of your paycheck into this account. Savings are built by depositing small sums of money over time; make it a habit to do so frequently, and savings will accumulate. A checking account provides convenient access to funds for paying daily bills.

Live Within Your Financial Means

Supporting oneself may be costly, and you’ll rapidly find yourself in financial trouble if you don’t make a budget. Calculate your take-home pay after taxes, then determine how much you can afford to spend each month.

Pay Your Bills on Time

Missed payments can harm your credit for up to seven years, affecting your ability to obtain loans, the interest rates you pay, and your ability to find work or rent an apartment. Consider automating payments for recurring expenses such as student loans, car payments, and phone bills. Utilize any reminder or notification features.

Consider Your Student Loans

Create an actionable plan for dealing with student loan debt before graduating. Make a list of your school loans and interest rates.

Make Emergency Plans

Emergencies can strike in an instant. Create a fund and try to save the equivalent of three to six months of living expenses in case the unexpected occurs. Begin saving right away, no matter how tiny the amount.

Reframe money mistakes as a way of learning how it works. This is probably the first time you’ve managed your money without supervision from your parents; treat it as an opportunity to learn more through experience. Discover the worth of money, the significance of making sensible decisions, and how to prioritize needs over wants.