New College Students: Help with Finances

As a new college student, there’s a laundry list of things to do and keep track of as you prepare to start your new journey.

By KELLY SCHMIDT
ND State Treasurer

Schmidt
Schmidt

As a new college student, there’s a laundry list of things to do and keep track of as you prepare to start your new journey.  It can be overwhelming!  One important item to keep on top of your list is your finances.  Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.  When establishing a new account consider these factors.

•What type of account do you need?   Savings, Checking etc.

•Can you access the ATM on campus, void of fees?  A few dollars here and there can make all the difference.

•Does the account have a monthly fee?  Many financial institutions offer accounts specifically designed for students and in some cases FREE checking!

2.  Start your semester off right by completing your first homework assignment: create a budget!

•Write down all your known expenses for the semester and any unexpected expenses that may occur.

•Take it month by month, keep track of your expenditures and monitor your budget regularly.   This will help you get a true assessment of what you are spending.  It will also help you assess your “needs” and “wants”.

•Remember the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) balance, is not your account balance.  The ATM balance does not include any outstanding transactions.

3.  A big part of managing money is managing debt and, for college students, there are two main types of debt.  The first is credit card debt – what you spend on living expenses.  The second is student load debt.  Either one by itself can be a significant load.  The two together, if out of control, can wreck a student’s economic future.

•Cultivate a healthy credit score while you are still in college.  That means paying all your bills on time and not maxing out your credit card.

•And though it can be hard to do when you are a “poor” college student, get into the savings habit – even if it’s only a few dollars each month – it will pay off in the future.

•Use student loans for educational expenses only.  Do not accept more than you need.  If a loan provides more than necessary, do not accept the additional amount or simply pay back the excess immediately, before it starts racking up interest costs.