For most, college is the first introduction to managing their own money. And with new responsibility comes learning curves. So, don’t pack on the pounds of debt and avoid these Freshman 15 financial flubs:
Spending without a budget. You may not have experience in tracking your spending, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Learn where your money is going on a daily basis!
Racking up credit card debt. A credit card can help establish your credit, but racking up debt that you’re not able to pay can negatively impact you – for years to come.
Paying for a checking account. While it’s becoming harder to find free checking accounts, be sure to look for them (we have one!). Why pay for something that you can get for free?
Eating out too often. Pizza sounds good most nights, but ordering in or eating out often can really cut into your expenses and may leave you needing more at the end of the month.
Forgetting to make use of student discounts. Your student ID isn’t just proof you’re a college student. It’s your discount pass as well! Find out which places around town offer discounts for using your ID and visit them – often. You won’t believe the money you’ll save!
Giving up on a scholarship. Remember that old saying: When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? Well, it applies here. If you couldn’t secure a scholarship for the fall semester – don’t get up hope! Continue your search during the school year by registering at CollegeAnswer.com’s free scholarship search. You’ll have access to its database of scholarships and receive email alerts for the ones you’re eligible for.
Not getting a job. This may be the last thing on your mind or further down on your priority list, but there’s a benefit to getting a job (part-time of course). A part-time job can earn money to pay for college costs, help you learn to manage your time, and gain experience to put on your resume.
Paying for something you can get free. College campuses can be a great source of free entertainment. Check out your school’s calendar of events for free movies, concerts and more!
Bringing your car to campus. Leaving your car at home can save on insurance, gas and parking costs.
Buying new books. Talk about a sticker shock! Cut the cost in half by buying used books.
Taking on too much debt. Borrow only what you absolutely need for school loans. Remember, you pay interest on every dollar you borrow!
Waiting to start paying off student loans. Speaking of loans, don’t wait until after college to start paying them off. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be debt-free!
Buying coffee. Caffeine may become your best friend, but there’s no reason you can’t brew it yourself.
Taking classes you don’t need. Pick your major as soon as possible and sign up for classes that your major requires. By doing that, you’re more likely to graduate it four years – and spend less on tuition and other costs.
Not taking advantage of your campus meal plan. If your parents paid for it, eat it! If you’re not, you’re just throwing money away.