Tips And Guide

16 Good Money Habits For College Students

We completely get it. Good money habits for college students are a chance to have fun while studying more about a subject or degree that interests you. You may be extremely busy, and your financial future may not be a primary priority.

However, the sooner you begin your financial health journey, the better, and it is acceptable to begin right away, no matter where you are in your roadmap.

College can be an excellent time to learn how to manage your money and develop spending habits that can help you achieve financial success.

Good Money Habits For College Students

Continue reading to learn sixteen good money habits for college students that will help you succeed. When you graduate, you’ll understand how even tiny changes to your financial decisions can significantly impact you.

1. Conduct a Money Inventory

We understand you have a lot on your plate. So, let’s take it one step at a time. Before you can begin to create excellent financial habits, you should review your fundamental income and expenses.

Here are some things to consider:

  • How much do you have in your student or teen checking account and savings?
  • What is the total amount of your student loans?
  • Are your parents or guardians contributing financially? If so, what amount?
  • How much is your school meal plan?
  • What are your basic living expenses? (Rent, Food, Transportation, and Entertainment)
  • What number of financial accounts and credit cards do you have?

In addition to their education, many college students perform part-time jobs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 74% of undergraduate students were employed in 2020, with full-time students accounting for 40%.

You’re busy. Instead of simply attempting to keep afloat, it’s a good idea to construct a budget, especially if you’re saving for long-term financial objectives like having your apartment after graduation, purchasing a car, or paying off student debts.

2. Create a Budget and Track Your Expenses

Begin by assigning a monetary figure to each category of your costs, and then attempt to stick to those amounts so you stay under your budget.

A monthly startup budget could look like this:

Monthly expenses

Rent: $800 -$1,200

Consider living further away from campus, hiring a roommate, and using public transportation if that is available.

Food: $350-$500

A college food plan is typically the most convenient and cost-effective alternative. If you live off campus, buy groceries and prepare your meals.

Takeout and delivery can quickly add up. Also, keep in mind that meal plans are frequently accessible even if you reside off campus.

Ride Sharing costs: $100.

Sharing a ride with companions can be cheaper than riding alone. However, if your rides are becoming too costly, consider purchasing a bicycle, taking public transportation (if it feels safe), or even pooling money with roommates to buy a secondhand car to share.

Cell phone bill: $85–$125.

Are you certain you’re utilizing all of the data you’ve paid for? Sometimes simply phoning your provider and inquiring how much data you’re using will allow you to reduce your plan. All these bells and whistles can add up.

Subscriptions to streaming services cost $100.

It’s simple to mistakenly sign up for too many streaming providers. Make sure to perform an inventory every month to ensure you don’t have any items on your account that you are no longer utilizing.

Gas: $100

While petrol prices fluctuate, how much you spend is determined by how frequently you drive your car. If you’re going somewhere close by, try walking or riding a bike.

Entertainment: $50–$300.

Who doesn’t love attending concerts? Ticket expenses can add up, so consider attending events on campus and supporting your friends in the theatre program.

In addition, rather than big-name bands, local cafes frequently feature up-and-coming musicians. Many are free or host open mic nights with fantastic local talent (also free!).

3. Open Both a Checking and a Savings Account

Choose a student-designated checking account, which may provide you with benefits such as no overdraft fees and unlimited ATM transactions at any machine worldwide.

Even if your college budget is only enough to meet your costs, you should start a student savings account. Consider opening a student high-yield savings account to receive money on your deposits.

Furthermore, many banks provide incentives, such as cash, for opening an account that will help you achieve your financial goals, such as buying a new car, moving into your apartment, or saving for an emergency.

Student savings accounts can offer fantastic bonuses, such as getting paid early, which means your paycheck arrives in your bank account two days earlier (enabling you to budget for future objectives while also planning which concert you’ll attend this weekend!).

4. Automate the Finances

Adulting can be difficult, but saving money and remembering to pay bills is even more difficult. Create a comprehensive digital budget using an app on your phone, iPad, or even paper.

Automating your finances and payments can make things appear more doable. For example, you may set up direct deposit from your checking account to your savings account for as little as $20 per month.

You can also automate recurring bills, such as credit cards, to ensure that you pay the required amount each month. Simply keep track of your finances to avoid overdrafts.

5. Student Discounts

You are making a large financial investment to attend school. It just makes sense to take advantage of student discounts whenever feasible.

You may receive discounts on meals, entertainment, and transportation, for example. Not sure if there is a discount available? Simply ask! Keep your student ID on hand when making transactions.

6. Keep an Eye Out for Regular Expenses and Fees

When it comes to college money management, keep in mind that tiny, recurrent expenses and fees can quickly mount up. Examine your bills for charges related to streaming services or subscriptions.

Do you need them? Are they adding value to your life? If not, discard them. Another option is to share the subscription with your roommate(s).

When it comes to cell phone bills, streaming platforms, and so on, it’s always a good idea to see if any new deals will allow you to cut your bill.

Simply phoning customer care and asking if you’re getting the best pricing available can save you a few bucks on your total. When using new services, always be careful to read the fine print to avoid any unexpected fees.

7. Think Outside the Box for Methods to Make Money or Reduce Expenses

Consider both essentials (rent, food, and transportation) and non-essentials. Here are some fast alternatives for making extra money besides working a million hours outside of school.

Food, transportation, and housing: Can you get another roommate or discover ways to save money on meals and groceries? Is taking public transportation, walking, or biking to campus or a job a better alternative than driving or using a ride-sharing service?

Social media influencer: Perhaps you take wonderful images and your friends constantly tell you you’ve become an excellent social media influencer. Why wait until graduation when you can start earning money and learning a skill for your CV today? Many businesses have emerged from student dorms, and each of you has the potential to be an entrepreneur.

Dorm cleaning service: You may have noticed that your classmates (ahem) lack basic cleanliness and never clean their rooms, but your aunt owned a cleaning service and you used to help her after school, so you understand how to run a business.

Babysitting, house sitting, and pet sitting: If you reside off-campus, you may encounter families seeking a sitter. You can always go out one weekend night and use the other to sit. Bonus points if they give you dinner and you save money on a meal! Consider house sitting or pet sitting.

Work-study: There are numerous work-study opportunities to save money, such as working in the dining hall, becoming an RA for free housing, working elsewhere on campus, or assisting a professor as a student teacher or with additional research.

8. Learn How to Invest and Save for Retirement

Consider a 401(k): When you start your first job, your company may provide an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k). Your employer will match whatever money you put into it from your paycheck.

Timing is everything: The most important thing to remember when considering a retirement savings plan is that the sooner you start, the better. You want as much time as possible to save for your long-term ambitions.

Save your bonus: You should also consider any first-job bonuses or cash windfalls for this account, rather than placing them in checking, where they could be wasted.

While saving for retirement while still in college can be difficult, it’s a good idea to begin educating yourself on your retirement goals and objectives, as well as how much of your paycheck you want to set aside for it, once you get your first job.

You might want to look at the F.I.R.E. movement, which stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.” Those who adopt this lifestyle frequently save aggressively to retire early, maybe by the age of 50 or, in extreme circumstances, 40.

While most people cannot commit to saving that much for retirement owing to other obligations, it is a thought-provoking proposition.

9. Improve Your Credit

Your credit score will influence everything, from apartment rentals to auto purchases to first-time house purchases. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to establish credit while still a student.

If you have student loans, consider making small payments of $25-$50 per month (or twice a month) while still in school to reduce interest and establish a positive repayment history.

Making timely payments and borrowing exactly what you need are the two most effective ways to improve your credit score. You may also view your credit report for free at

10. Have a Debt Repayment Strategy

According to the Washington Post, one out of every five Americans is currently in college debt. Once you finish school and the grace period expires, you must begin paying student loan payments.

It may seem strange to go from paying nothing to several hundred dollars every month. If you consider your total expected debt, payback schedules, and interest, you may develop a long-term debt payoff strategy that will put you in an excellent position after graduation.

Consider refinancing your loan, making payments while still in school, enrolling in autopay for a discount, or even looking for a company for your first job that will pay off some of your debt when you sign an employment agreement. Finally, make sure not to take out more loans than you need.

11. Take control and accept responsibility

Unfortunately, it is far too easy to overlook your finances when there are so many other problems to face and adjustments to make in college life.

But you can’t start adulthood with bad money habits, and college is an ideal moment to decide to take control of your finances and be responsible with your money.

Even if your parents continue to cover parts of your bills, such as tuition and room and board, you should work out a plan with them to take charge of your other expenses. With you at the forefront, you must have a robust, well-thought-out financial strategy in place from day one.

12. You Should Protect Yourself

Be particular about your money. Do not leave cash lying about. Be wary of classmates, acquaintances, or others who want to borrow money or have fantastic suggestions for how you should spend it.

Be wary about identity theft, particularly if you purchase or bank online. Consider forwarding financial correspondence to your parents’ house.

Prepare for the unexpected by saving cash in a safe place in case of an emergency. Don’t be caught having to pay fees for overdue library books, parking tickets, and the like.

13. Maintain track

Make a regimen for yourself that includes a frequent financial review. Keep detailed records of what you’ve paid out and what’s left in your account(s) to meet the rest of your monthly obligations, and you’ll quickly have a clear picture of your financial status.

This financial self-awareness is essential to staying on track. It’s not necessary to know every detail down to the last penny, but knowing when you can hit the ATM for a few extra bucks and when you need to curb your appetite for an expensive meal off-campus will make your life easier and allow you to focus on more important things, such as your grades.

14. Do Not Buy New

There is no need to buy a new textbook when you may get a used one at a considerably lower price. If you have to buy something new, keep in mind that campus costs are usually always more than those at online merchants like Amazon.

These days, you may be able to order e-books for an e-reader or laptop and pocket the difference between virtual and physical text.

Remember that if you move into a dorm room, someone else will be leaving. Perhaps you can get an old refrigerator or coffee maker from someone on campus. Recycling benefits the environment while saving money.

If you reside off-campus, forget about purchasing the newest fashionable furniture from Sweden. Secondhand retailers can readily equip your student accommodation.

And you’d be shocked how many good items you can find at a yard sale. The point is, that now is the time to tone down your refined tastes and opt for the simple and inexpensive.

15. Get Yourself Organized

Establish your financial structure. Open a bank account or join a credit union so you may write and cash checks, use a debit card, access ATMs, make deposits, and start a savings account.

Shop around for the greatest price and compare fees. Banks are continuously introducing new fees for services that were previously free. Ask and answer questions on overdraft protection, internet banking, minimum balances, and other topics.

Many institutions have payment systems for campus activities and cafeteria meals. Determine the most effective and easy approach to set up and fund your numerous accounts, both on and off campus. Make sure you have a consistent approach that works for you and gives you access to your money at all times.

Ready to be a Financially Responsible College Student?

As a college student, you may not have a lot of money right now. However, making informed decisions about how to pay for college may allow you to keep more of your hard-earned money after graduation.

We’re here to assist you to understand your financial options and learn more about how to pay for education. Simply check out our Student Loans and contact us via chat.

How can college students handle their finances?

To keep track of your money, set up three bank accounts: one for bills, one for spending, and one for savings. Have the funds you’ve planned for each category deposited automatically into these accounts. This way, you’ll be less likely to dip into your savings account or spend money set aside for bills.








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