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||Meet Chloe, one of our summer 2017 ICI Interns:I’m Chloe Alexander, a recent graduate of an ICI member campus, where I studied Communications and History. You’ll find me in a library, coffee shop, or thrift store. I speak primarily in English, but also in Spanish with a terrible accent, FRIENDS quotes, and Disney song lyrics. I strive to make my mark on the world by writing, traveling, reading, engaging in critical thinking, and enjoying the arts. Ask me about my adorable dog and I will talk to you for a minimum of an hour.
9 Tips for Handling Money in College
March 8, 2018
Money is usually on the mind for many students. Here are nine tips for keeping it in check.
1. Apply on time. The easiest way to find out what money you can receive for college is through filing the FAFSA. Make sure you know when your state and school deadlines are. They usually come before the federal one.
2. Keep track of it. Make sure you know exactly what kind of financial aid you’re receiving and how much it is. Know what you can use loan money for. Write down all the important information. So many students aren’t used to keeping good records of their finances, so they can feel a little lost when it comes to financial aid. Find a notebook that will last you through college and keep all the important information in it!
3. Talk to the right people. Do you know the difference between the business office and the financial aid office? Believe it or not, these are two separate places on campus, and the people in them do different jobs. The financial aid office will handle helping you file the FAFSA, any institutional scholarships you get, or any other aid that you receive. The business office is where you will go to make a school payment or pick up your paycheck if you work on campus. When you have questions, it’s very important that you are asking the right people.
4. Begin tracking your spending. If you’re not paying attention to your spending, it’s easy to wonder where all your money has gone. Start writing down every cent you spend. Or use an app like Mint which tracks it all for you once you connect your bank account (including your student loan payments!) However you choose to track your money, start doing it today! It will help you have a better idea of how much you spend and where it goes.
5. Weekly spending. After you have begun tracking your money, begin limiting it. Set a reasonable amount that you are allowed to spend each week. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, but you are only allowed to spend that much. If your friends ask you to go to the movies on the weekend and you’ve already spent your total for the week, you can’t go. Sticking to this amount no matter what is the important part. It will begin teaching you that it’s not allowable to spend more money than what you have.
6. Write it down. Once you’ve learned that you can’t spend more than what you have, it’s time to create a real budget. Many students just try to keep their budget in their head, but I recommend actually writing it down. Excel is a really easy way to divide your income and outcome into categories and keep them all organized. Take the time to write down that you spend $10 on Netflix every month and figure out roughly how much gas money you need in a week. Write down any payments you have to make to your school and remember to write down that you paid for Amazon Prime or Spotify Premium at the beginning of the year. Having all of this written down to look at will help you tremendously to keep your money in order.
7. Get the app. Lots of banks nowadays will have an app of some kind that you can download and connect to your account so you can look at it on the go. You can even do things like deposit checks without ever having to go into the branch. This can be especially helpful for out-of-state students or anybody who doesn’t have a bank location close to your campus.
8. Know what you can and can’t do. Does your bank have a policy on how much you can deposit in a day? Are you charged a fee at ATMs that aren’t owned by your bank? It’s really important to know what the “rules” are for your bank so you aren’t surprised by any charges or limitations.
9. Be careful of cards. Credit and debit cards can be dangerous, but they do have their place! If you do use a card of some kind, be constantly aware of how much is in your account. It’s much, much easier to spend money when you don’t actually see it in your hand. Some people find it easier to withdraw cash to pay for the things that they can, and only use their card for emergencies. Keeping an eye on your balance is a great idea so that you don’t accidentally overdraw your account.
Being wise with your money in college can be a challenge sometimes, but follow some of these tips to make your financial life easier!
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