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student credit cards

Adulting Other Transition

How to Manage Bills as a College Student

December 30, 2021

College can be a challenging time for students, but it doesn’t need to be stressful.

College students often struggle to manage their money and pay their bills on time as they move to this new chapter in their life. We are here to help you learn what you need to know about managing your finances as a college student.

Take Note of Every Expense

The first step in budgeting your money is to figure out what your monthly expenses will be.

You will have to pay for housing, utilities, phone service, internet access, and food while you are in college – it’s just the way things work! While different students have different living arrangements, most students will need to pay for these things. You may also need to consider the costs of transportation, textbooks, and other school supplies. Also, don’t forget the costs of any extracurricular activities or hobbies you want to pursue, like joining a club or participating in intramural sports.

From Netflix to the water bill, write down every single monthly expense you have. The more you know about how much all these things cost each month, the better prepared you can be for managing your money.

Begin with Your Fixed Costs

The first type of expense in factor into your budget are the ones that don’t change, or changes very little from month to month. This can include any bills you pay that are not negotiable (meaning the payment cannot be negotiated by a credit card, check, or cash, such as rent payments and car insurance premiums. These are important to remember and can serve as the foundation of your monthly budget.

List your Flexible Expenses

The next step is to determine your variable expenses – these are the monthly bills that change from month to month depending on how much you use. Common examples include utilities, groceries, transportation or gas, and even some cell phone plans. It can be very easy to go over budget with these types of expenses and is crucial that you pay attention to how much you are spending each month.

Plan on Unexpected Expenses

Life happens and you can’t always plan. One thing you should plan for is unexpected expenses, like car repairs or doctor visits. You can do this by setting aside a small amount each month (e.g., $20) in an emergency fund using your checking account. Another way to help the unexpected is to set aside money each month in to a savings account. This can be used for unexpected things you may need, or want, such as trips or a going out to eat that you did not account for in your budget.

Once you have paid all of your bills and set aside this monthly emergency fund, you have reached the end of your spending plan for each month. The amount left over in your checking account is yours to do with as you see fit!

What if money is too tight?

In some situations, budgeting may be difficult and you may not have enough money. If this is the case, it’s important to figure things out as soon as possible – don’t wait until your bills become overdue!

If you need more income to cover expenses, look into getting a job or increasing your hours at work. If you have to cut spending, start with the things that are not as important such as eating out or shopping.

However, attending college is often a full-time job in and of itself. On top of that, it’s important for you as a student to have a healthy amount of free time and disposable income for entertainment and leisure in order to manage the stress of college.

If you have your basic budget under control but need a little leeway for leisure and unexpected expenses, there are plenty of credit cards designed specifically for college students that will help take the pressure off. Just make sure to do your research and compare cards before signing on!

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of expenses you have as a college student. However, if you take an organized approach and write down each expense before it becomes due, managing your money should become much easier.

Author Bio

Colin Crown is a contributing writer and media specialist for Compare Credit. He is an avid foodie, marketing enthusiast and loves the city of Memphis.

Other Student Life

Are You a College Student? It’s Time to Control Your Finances

April 2, 2020

Getting an education is one of the best things you can do for your financial future. However, it’s just part of the success equation and it’s easy to make financial decisions that complicate things. It’s best to take control of your finances as early as possible and it’s never too early. The tips below can help any college student take charge of their finances.

Establish a Savings Account

Saving money is something that some college students don’t think about because there’s usually a limited amount of money available. Even if that’s the case, it’s best to set aside a small amount of money to serve as an emergency fund. Things happen and you don’t want to end up in a financial bind without a solution.

Avoid Debt When Possible

The biggest debt that most college students incur is student loans. That’s because college is expensive and sometimes it’s hard to pay for tuition and the cost of living without a loan. If there is ever a way to avoid getting a student loan or any other debt, you should definitely steer clear. Some people struggle for a lifetime to pay off student loan debt. If you decide to get a loan, make sure you do so wisely by consulting with a financial aid advisor.

Monitor Your Spending

A simple financial rule that should always be followed is to spend less money than you make. It’s easier to spend more money than you actually earn by using credit cards. This is rarely a good idea and it’s usually something that people end up regretting for many years.

Limit Credit Card Use

Credit cards are surprisingly easy to get when you’re a college student, which can be unfortunate because you’re still learning about finances. Sometimes what happens is the credit cards are maxed out and not paid on time. As a result, a good number of college students end up having to repair their credit later. If you end up getting a credit card, make sure you get one with a low interest rate and pay off the balance monthly.

Stick with a Budget

Having a budget is far more important than you may realize. That’s because knowing how much money you have to spend and sticking with your commitment not to exceed your budget can help you achieve your financial goals. If you need to earn more money, consider a side gig like Uber if you have a vehicle. You’ll be considered a contractor and you can work whenever you want. Instead of receiving Form W2, Uber will use a 1099 generator and send you the information by email or regular mail.

Start Investing

If you’re working a full-time job and they provide a retirement account, make sure you take full advantage of that benefit. It’s easy to think you have plenty of time to invest in a retirement account, but that time will go by quickly. By starting at a young age, you’re more likely to achieve your retirement goals.

Maintain Insurance

Health and disability insurance are two types of insurance that most people should have. If you don’t know whether or not you have these insurance plans, check with your employer. If you don’t have them, it’s time to get them. Not having insurance is something that can have devastating consequences when it comes to your finances.

Being a college student doesn’t mean you don’t have to be diligent about your finances and the financial decisions you make now will impact your future. Since you will probably have a learning curve like most people, it’s best to read as much as possible about personal finances. You’ll be glad you did.

BIO:Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Health Other

How To Use Student Credit Cards To Improve Your Credit Scores

January 15, 2018

Most students who enter college are new to the world of credit. But this isn’t an indicator that you have poor credit. It just means you have limited credit.

Building credit is important because it allows you to buy a house or car, and helps you pay less for insurance. When looking into these types of larger purchases, there is usually a credit check required. Having poor or limited credit can make it more difficult to move forward with your purchase. Lower credit scores can also lead to higher monthly payments.

Credit cards are one of the best ways to add a line of credit to your credit scores. There are student credit cards that are designed specifically for this purpose. Student credit cards are easy to get with limited credit and will help you build your credit scores over time. While you use your credit card to build credit, keep these tips in mind to make the most out of your card.

Pick a Card That Fits You

There are tons of credit card offers out there designed for each type of person. By taking the time to research each card and ensure you completely understand all the fees and terms associated with your credit card, you’ll be able to choose what card fits your lifestyle the best.

Some cards come with annual fees. If you’re new to credit cards, you’ll probably want to start with a card that doesn’t have an annual fee. Paying an annual fee usually offers you extra benefits, but it’s important to decide if you would use these benefits enough to offset the card’s fee.

Some student credit cards offers a rewards program to use their cards. Rewards are usually offered through cash back on all purchases or certain categories. When you’re looking for a card, consider what categories you spend money on to determine what card will maximize your rewards.

Be Disciplined

There is risk associated with a credit card. It’s important to remain disciplined and avoid charging what you can’t afford onto your card. By being more strict with your purchases, you can avoid interest and credit card debt altogether. Also, by using and paying your card off on time and in full, you’ll be building your credit scores.

If you do happen to have credit card debt, make sure you’re paying more than the minimum payment! It’s a mistake to think that you’re worry-free by paying the minimum amount each month. Pay as much as you can towards the accounts with the highest interest rate and get that debt out of your life.

Take Advantage of the Extra Benefits

Many credit cards come with extra benefits that can help you feel more confident in your purchases. These benefits include extended warranties and returns on purchases you make. Also, they usually come with protections in place if your card has fraudulent charges on them. This takes the liability off of you. So as long as you’re using your credit card responsibly, you can feel secure with the money you’re spending.

Building credit is important as you start to look for houses, cars, or even insurance. If you’re entering or in college, a student credit card is a great option to build your credit scores and help prepare for the future. Remember to use your card responsibility to increase your scores and avoid debt. When you use credit cards, take advantage of the extra benefits and awards they offer to feel good about all of your purchases.