Tips for college freshman about financially surviving freshman year

Financial responsibility is something a college freshman can struggle with. For some students, parents provide a steady income throughout the semester to keep them going. A typical college freshman needs to budget themselves, and know how much money they have to last the semester, so they can make educated decisions on attending events that cost money.

Why its tough for a College Freshman to manage money

Typically college freshman come from living in a parent controlled world where they have rules, and they know their limits. College offers a sense of freedom, that could cause financial problems if not handled correctly. Credit cards, and shopping could set a college freshman’s future off to a very bad start.

Freshman and Credit Cards

Warning to all college freshman! You will be offered credit cards many times throughout your college career. DO NOT even apply for ANY credit cards. Credit cards seem like an easy way to get through college. Many college students think “I will be making a lot of money when I graduate, so I will just pay them off when I get a job”. This is the wrong way to think about credit cards. Credit cards can put you (and your parents) in serious financial problems. Spending can become habit forming, and could hurt your chances in the future of finding a place to rent, buying a house, and sometimes hurt your chances for landing that “dream job”. Bottom line: Do yourself a favor, and do not apply for credit cards.

College Freshman and Money

Budgeting is hard, especially when a college freshman is in an environment where peers do not have to budget. You will notice other students who spend all their parents money, have the nicest clothes, always have money to spend, and you think its not fair. Well it isn’t, but you have to do the best you can with what you have. The idea is to budget your money for the semester, and try to stretch your money as far as you can.

  • Try to buy all your clothes for the semester in the summer before you actually go to school, this way you don’t need to buy clothes at school.
  • Try to budget major purchases you will need and don’t touch that money. If you are at a school where you plan on joining a fraternity or sorority, chances are you are going to need some money to join. And if you do chances are there will be events where you will need to spend more money (formals, date parties, trips, etc.)
  • If you have a meal plan use it! – As much as you may be sick of the cafeteria food, try to go as often as possible. Usually meal plans are already paid for, and don’t require extra cash.
  • If you do order out split food with someone. Ordering out for food can be expensive, if you choose to do so try to split a pizza, or whatever to help cut down on the cost…and don’t forget about the tip for the delivery person.

These are just a few tips to help you get started on having a successful financial future. Be sure to talk to your parents about your financial situation (even though its the last thing you want to do) because they could help you out in a tough situation before it gets worse. If you are not paying your credit card(s) off in full every month, you are having a problem managing your money.

Managing your money correctly will allow you to do everything you want to do, and set you up well for life after college.

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