Financial tips for new college students: Part I

For those halfway through their first year of college or plan to attend next year, there are some important things to consider besides where you'll do your laundry. College is often a great experience to live on your own and finally feel personal freedom. With this new lifestyle, you also have a responsibility to keep your finances in order, whether you're working part-time or receiving help from loved ones through your checking account.

Here are a few financial tips to consider if you're a new or upcoming college student in the first part of this two-part series:

Understand you can't spend more than you earn
This seems like the most basic tip to follow, but many young people simply don't know how to properly budget to spend less than what they earn. If you're working a part-time job and know you can't afford a new piece of apparel, video game or furniture, don't buy it. You should always be safe with credit and avoid wasting all of your money on some item that you truly don't need right away. You'll feel more satisfied when you can make the purchase with money you know you can spare.

Formulate an effective budget 
While knowing how to spend your money is important, it's also necessary to create a realistic budget that will help you plan ahead in your college years. Budgets are important to follow and you have to be strict with what you plan.

You can set it to be as vigilant as a weekly budget or a monthly budget to help keep you on track. Review all the things that cost you money every single week or month, such as food, gas, phone service or rent. Once you have them written down, compare that list to the money that's coming into your checking account.

When you have a broad picture of your funds, it's smart to limit how much you need to save and what you can spend per month on something else that's not included on the list, like going to see a movie. Also, creating a smart budget will give you the best overview of how you are spending your money each day and month.

Stay tuned for our second part on the best financial tips for new college students. 

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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