Gaining Your Financial Independence in College
Published September 20, 2013 | Updated September 22, 2013
Going to college is an exciting time in your life. Unfortunately, college students often spend beyond their means because they aren’t yet accustomed to having a greater degree of freedom. They may fail to track their spending, resulting in a less than desirable credit score. However, by doing a little preplanning and joining a credit union, you can learn to live within your means and gain your financial freedom.
Make a Financial Plan
Creating a budget is an essential component of achieving financial freedom in college. First, determine what your income will be and where it’s coming from (i.e. your parents or a part-time job). A college meal plan often doesn’t cover the whole month; determine how much extra you’ll need to spend on meals. Write a list of your other expenses, such as rent, transportation, textbooks, and other school supplies. You may also wish to set aside a small portion of your income for entertainment expenses. Add up all of your projected expenses and deduct the total from your income.
Track Your Spending
Making a budget is only the first step; you’ll also need to stick to it. Track your spending and compare it to your budget. Some people like to use apps or computer software to track their expenses. Remember that if you use a credit card, avoid charging a greater amount to the card than you can pay off at the end of the month.
Join a Credit Union
Joining a credit union is a smart financial move for college students because credit unions typically emphasize the importance of financial education for members and they offer lower fees. If you go to school in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, or Williamson counties, talk to a member representative at Amplify Credit Union. You can set up a checking account and explore student loan options. It’s also a great idea to start a savings account in college. Even if you can only save a little each week, you’ll be off to a better financial start in life.