Smart money planning tips for incoming college freshmen and their parents
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Smart money planning should be part of any freshmen’s preparation for their first year in college. Paul Goebel, director of the Student Money Management Center at the University of North Texas, offers tips for incoming freshmen and their parents to make planning for college easier:
- Don’t be afraid to talk about money. Share values, expectations and personal experiences. To prevent a money problem from becoming a crisis, parents need to encourage their students to reach out to them for their advice and own experiences.
- Create a financial survival plan. The plan should identify all college and living expenses and funding resources to help students avoid money migraines.
- Don’t spend all your money. Students should begin and end every semester with money in their pockets. Remember, if you can’t afford it – don’t buy it. If your friends are going out and you can’t afford it, just say no.
- Make your housing payment. Some colleges and universities may have separate accounting systems for tuition and on-campus housing. Make sure you cover both every semester.
- Don’t waste money furnishing your room. Space is limited when sharing a room on campus with another person or two, so planning is important. Your room won’t need two refrigerators, two televisions, two microwaves or two Justin Bieber posters.
- Don’t waste your meal plan. Use it or lose it. Colleges and universities are offering healthier eating options to keep away the Freshman 15. But be realistic about eating out. Even with a meal plan most students will want to go off campus to eat. Set a limit on how much money you will spend eating off campus.
- Remember classes require books. Take advantage of a textbook rental program before considering purchasing used or new books, and don’t forget to budget course materials in addition to textbooks. Small expenses such as notebooks, pens and binders can quickly add up.
- Consider the costs of bringing a car to campus. On-campus housing and bus stops provide students with easy access to residence halls, academic buildings and other amenities within walking distance. Carpooling or using public transit can help save money. Public transit may offer free or discounted fares to students.
- Parents, set limits. Parents should specify levels of support and which expenses they will cover and which their student will be responsible for covering.
- Get a job. A job is a great way to earn money and build skills and connections. On-campus positions offer flexibility and concern for your education.
- Avoid dropping or repeating classes. You’ll just end up paying more for the same knowledge.
- Never forget your first priority at college is your grades. Challenge a decision to use time you are not dedicating to attending classes, studying or preparing for exams. A minute away from your classes is a minute lost to keeping your grade point average strong, and that’s a big deal.