Financial Tips for College Students

By Destiny White

So, you made it to college, the next step of your life. Now, the main questions many college students may have might include— how can I possibly become financially secure while in college? How do I budget? How do I establish credit and obtain a good credit score? Most importantly, do student loans impact my credit score?

Here are six tips to answer the burning financial questions most college students have.

Get a Job and Save Up!

There are many ways students can earn their own income while in school. It may be difficult for many college students to work a full-time job while being a full-time student. In this case, we recommend you get at least a part-time job, because It is crucial to have some sort of income coming in to contribute to your daily living expenses and possible student loan payments. College can be difficult and very time-consuming, so this is where time management skills come in. You may also want to consider partaking in a side hustle to generate additional money, including tutoring, babysitting, housesitting, or dog walking.

Open a Bank Account

If you don’t have one already. This one’s pretty simple—visit your nearest credible bank and open an account. We recommend you start off with opening a student bank account. Chase Bank is ranked as the best overall option for opening a college checking account, and as long as you are a college student between the ages of 17 to 24, you qualify for no service fee for up to 5 years. This can be a major saver.

It is also recommended to get a low-limit, low-interest credit card, which is an easy way to start building a credit history. Here’s how to get started with credit in college.

Create a Budget

You’ll need to determine the amount of money you have coming in from all sources, which may include but are not limited to parents and relatives’ contributions, financial aid and scholarships, student loans, and any income from your own employment. Next, estimate how much money you’ll spend each month on different categories, and perhaps add these expenses as categories into a spreadsheet. You should also allocate a section for emergencies and savings, if possible.

You may even want to allocate a section for “miscellaneous” spending to relieve some stress because we all know certain activities come up or items we may want to purchase. Just make sure there is a limit. Here is how we recommend you start creating your budget.

You Can Have Fun While on a Budget

Who says you can’t enjoy life on a budget while in college? College may be the best years of your life. There will be plenty of opportunities for entertainment. Take advantage of student discounts everywhere you go, as each dollar saved adds up year by year. It is recommended that students set limits on financial spending for nights out, dates, and other social events.

Spend Student Loans Wisely

Lastly, it’s super important to remind you all while in college to not waste your student loans on nonessentials. If you are spending your student loan money on nonessentials, you may soon regret this decision after graduation once your student loan bills kick in. We suggest you allocate a portion of your budget from your job income towards nonessentials.

There is no need to start off your college journey with financial difficulties that can be avoided by following our tips, staying educated about personal finance, and joining our #CreditChat every Wednesday at 3 p.m. E.T. to enrich your financial journey.

Our weekly #CreditChat started in 2012 to help our community learn about credit and important personal finance topics (e.g. saving money, paying down debt, improving credit scores). Each chat is hosted by @Experian on Twitter and all are welcome to participate. DM us any questions.

This week, we’ll discuss financial precautions to keep in mind for incoming and current college students.

Topic: Financial Tips for College Students

When: Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 3 p.m. ET.

Where: Join the live hashtag discussion.

The panel will include: TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity; Travis Hornsby: Speaker and Founder of Student Loan Planner®; Patrina Dixon: Personal Finance Expert and Author, It’$ My Money; Leslie H. Tayne, Esq: Founder and Managing Director of Tayne Law Group, P.C. (f/k/a The Law Offices of Leslie H. Tayne, P.C.); Beverly HarzogCredit Card Expert and Consumer Finance Analyst for U.S. News;  Jennifer White: Consumer Education and Advocacy Expert at Experian; Rod Griffin: Senior Director, Consumer Education and Advocacy, Experian and Christina Roman: Consumer Education and Advocacy Manager at Experian.

Gift Card Giveaway

Enter here for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card! We will be announcing a winner at the end of the chat. Entry Period: Raffle open now and closes at the end of this chat at 4 p.m. ET. Complete rules here.

Questions We’ll Discuss:

  1. What advice do you have for a college student who may be managing their own money for the first time?
  2. How can a college student begin establishing credit while still in school?
  3. What should college students know before taking out student loans?
  4. How do student loans impact credit scores?
  5. Is having an emergency savings fund important for college students?
  6. What are some ways for a college student to earn their own income while still in school?
  7. How can college students identify the difference between needs and wants?
  8. What are some ways college students can save on back to school supplies and expenses?
  9. What are some common financial mistakes college students should avoid?
  10. Any final financial tips for college students?

Check out our complete list of upcoming personal finance Twitter chats here.