Money, like your daily time, is a resource to manage. Financial
- Setting goals.
- Developing a strategy to reach
- Living within your means.
- Taking charge of your financial
Follow these tips:
- Spend less than you make.
- Create a budget.
Create a long-range budget for a year or more, one for the
school term, and a short-term budget for each month.
- Keep paperwork.
Keep receipts, bills, cancelled checks, and credit card
statements in a jar or box in case you want to exchange
your purchase and to help you put together an accurate bugdet.
- Keep a tax file.
File all of your receipts. Be realistic and monitor your
budget each month. Refine it, and then stick to it.
- Beware of credit card debt.
Credit cards are convenient and a way to establish a good
credit rating. If you have one use it only for emergencies
or special items like airline tickets. Pay off the balance
on a credit card immediately. Interest charges are expensive.
You will be tempted to buy more with credit, and it is difficult
to monitor how much you spend. Make certain you have the
money to pay for the items that you charge.
- Resist wasteful habits.
Little indulgences add up fast. Here are some ways you may
save some money:
- Brew your own coffee and pack a snack instead of buying a latte and a roll
every morning. You'll save about $25 a week.
- Buy a water filter and fill a water jar instead of buying bottled water.
- Pack your lunch and save another $25 a week.
- Don't smoke, and save thousands of dollars a year.
- Use the power of compound
interest. For example: If you start your
career at 22 and are able to save around $400 a month in
a Roth IRA, in diversified mutual funds, and in intermediate-term
bond funds, you would have a nice nest egg by the time you're
52. Assuming 11% return for stock assets and 6% on the bond
fund, in 30 years you would have $643,049.
- Shop wisely.
Have a list of items you need when you go into a store and
don't buy on impulse.
- Pay cash.
Don't use a credit card. Follow this simple rule: If you
don't have the money, don't buy it. Keep your money in the
bank and don't carry too much with you or have too much
in your apartment. You will be less tempted to spend it
if it isn't so available.
- Use critical thinking when
considering an expensive purchase. Think
through expensive purchases such as a stereo, or a computer.
For example: Don't buy a car if you can avoid it. A car
is a very expensive purchase, and the purchase price is
only the initial cost. Make certain you have also considered
the cost of insurance, tires, upkeep, gasoline, oil changes,
repairs, and parking. The stress of trying to find a parking
place on campus can add to all the other pressures of school.
Instead, use public transportation whenever possible or
walk or use a bike/car pool if possible.
- Exchange room and board for
work. Some students exchange room or board
for lawn care, child care, housecleaning, and so on. Since
rent is an expensive item in your budget, an exchange arrangement
can save you thousands of dollars over a few years. Ask
around and put an ad in the paper, in a community organization
newsletter, or on a community bulletin board. Look also
for opportunities to housesit or care for a larger home.
- Stay healthy.
It costs a lot in time, energy, missed classes, and medical
bills when you're sick. You can avoid many illnesses by
respecting your body and using common sense. Exercise an
hour a day and avoid unhealthy snacks and poor eating habits.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, brown rice and whole grains
are healthy and cost less than processed and convenience
foods. Get plenty of exercise and rest, and do not use harmful
- Conserve energy.
Save money on utilities by turning down the heat, turning
off lights, taking quick showers, and turning the water
off while you brush your teeth. Hang wet laundry to dry
outside if possible.
- Get a job.
Working while you go to school can help earn extra money.
Just make sure you are not working long hours to pay for
fancy clothes or a car while neglecting your education.
Check with the career center or placement office for a listing
of on- and off-campus jobs.
- Get help if you're in financial
trouble. Check your yellow pages or call
the Chamber of Commerce and ask if your community has a
consumer credit agency that helps with credit counseling.
Go prepared with all your budget information, assets, bills,
resources, loans, and so forth.
- Don't gamble.
You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than
winning the lottery. If you spend $200 a year on the state
lottery from age 18 to 67, you will have $115,000 less to
spend at retirement.
You can find more practical information
about managing your money at studentadvantage.com.
If you have credit problems, you may want
to consult a credit counseling agency, whicn you can find
through the National
Foundation for Credit Counseling, a network of 1,450 nonprofit
Neighborhood Financial Care Centers.
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