Financial Advice For College Students

The San Jose Mercury News has compiled a list of financial tips for people just entering college. These are the sorts of things that will help you avoid racking up huge debts or wasting money you don’t have on fees and penalties—and of course they can apply to pretty much anyone, not just college students.

Naturally, they suggest you closely track where your money goes, which is an easy thing to do in this era of free personal finance websites like Mint and Wesabe. But they also address the issue of understanding why you spend (or don’t spend) money, so that you don’t end up being a slave to your emotions or habits:

  • Know yourself. Nathan Dungan literally wrote the textbook on personal finance and speaks at colleges nationwide. What does he think is most important for students to understand? Themselves. “Know your money temperament … the lens through which you view and do money,” he said. If having money makes you want to spend it, it’s best to know that and figure out a way that works for you to keep that natural tendency in check.

  • Keep money out of reach to stay out of trouble. Each year, Solheim asks students about a bad financial experience. “I have quite a few that will say … ‘The first time I got my financial aid I just had a good time … and then was stretched at the end to make ends meet,'” she said. If you’re a student receiving a lump sum from the Bank of Mom and Dad or the financial aid office, figure out how much you’ll need each month and put the rest in savings. That way you won’t feel artificially flush when you see that big bank balance.

“Experts offer advice for college and beyond” [San Jose Mercury News]