For many students, college is the first time they have to manage their own money. Money management for college students not only calls for careful tracking of expenses, but it also requires a weekly or a monthly budget plan. Purchasing used textbooks and furniture, leaving the car at home, and keeping financial documents in a secure and safe place are all tips that a student can use to help manage college finances. A college student should also take advantage of free or discounted events on campus to help save money.
Good money management for college students will usually entail careful tracking of expenses. This can be done by writing down purchases in a notebook and making sure that the expenses don't go over budget. Creating an actual budget does not have to be complicated; at the start of the month, the college student should estimate how much money he or she will have during that month. The money should be allocated for planned expenses throughout the month, keeping the budget plan in mind.
Buying second-hand items can help lower the costs of attending college. Used textbooks will serve their purpose just as well as a new book, as long as they are up to date and in relatively good condition. Buying used furniture to decorate a dorm is also another way of helping to manage money. Many universities have events where students can freely trade furniture and other items with locals or other students. If feasible, leaving the car at home can also eliminate the need to pay for gas, maintenance, insurance, and parking fees.
Money management is not only about watching expenses, but it also requires a college student to secure his or her credit cards and other financial documents. A stolen credit card, identity card, or Social Security card can lead to unauthorized purchases or even identity fraud. College students should avoid giving away pin numbers or bank numbers to friends. Scholarship scams are another threat to prospective college students; if a scholarship requires the recipient to pay fees to obtain the funds, then it is most likely a scam.
Most colleges and universities have partnerships with local businesses, in which the college will help advertise the business to students in exchange for discounted prices or free services. Movies, restaurants, and even local buses and trains will usually be sharply discounted. Money management for college students will usually require some frugality, so these affordable opportunities should be taken advantage of.