When you know how to manage money you will be better prepared to pursue goals and have money to achieve them. Determining finances helps you determine your future. These 40 tips will set you on the path of financial independence.
1. Take charge of your life and your money by defining goals, making plans, and taking action.
2. Know the ground rules by talking to your parents or guardians about money.
3. Get organized by creating a filing system for financial paperwork.
4. Protect your personal information by safeguarding your Social Security number and shredding financial documents before discarding them.
5. Find the best deal for your checking account by researching minimum-balance requirements and fees, including overdraft fees.
6. Don’t bounce checks.
7. Understand your financial aid by examining the terms of each scholarship, grant, and loan and reviewing requirements of work-study jobs.
8. Keep looking for financial aid all through college. Scholarships, grants, and work-study jobs aren’t just for freshmen.
9. Watch out for scholarship scams.
10. Use loans as a last resort, and try to graduate with as little debt as possible.
11. Understand what your student loan payments will be and when your monthly payments will begin.
12. Submit a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. To apply for federal financial aid, you must complete this form.
13. Talk to a financial aid officer if your situation changes.
14. Make school your first job, and manage your time carefully.
15. Look for an on-campus job.
16. Be your own boss. Turn a hobby or skill into a money-making venture.
17. Prepare for your career by getting your résumé ready and attending career fairs.
18. Choose the meal plan that works best for you.
19. Save on snacks by avoiding vending machines and instead buying snacks at the grocery store.
20. Use the dorm or campus printers instead of buying your own.
21. Talk to your roommates about splitting expenses and handling shared bills.
22. Compare the cost of an apartment with the cost of a dorm room before making a housing move.
23. Pay the rent on time.
24. Set ground rules with roommates about groceries, utilities, and household supplies, and about moving out before a lease expires. Put your agreement in writing and have each roommate sign the agreement.
25. Resist peer pressure to spend money you don’t have.
26. Separate needs from wants and limit spending on non-essentials.
27. Take advantage of student discounts.
28. Don’t let car expenses drive you crazy. Shop around for auto insurance and see if you qualify for a good-grades discount for students. Extend the life of your car by getting routine maintenance done on time. Save on gas by combining errands.
29. Keep track of your student account.
30. Plug everyday spending leaks to help stretch your money.
31. Create a budget and stick to it.
Credit and Debt
32. Build good credit by paying bills on time and loans as promised.
33. Limit the number of credit cards in your name. Avoid credit-card pushers, who may offer free gifts or other enticements to sign up for new cards.
34. Take control of your credit card and avoid running up balances.
35. Seek help from a financial aid officer or debt counselor if you get into debt trouble.
Saving and Investing Money
36. Get into the savings habit and put your money to work for you earning interest.
37. Learn the power of compounding interest.
38. Pay yourself first: Whenever you get a paycheck, deposit part of your earnings into a savings account.
39. Learn about your options for saving and investing money, including bank savings accounts, money market accounts, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds.
40. Remember: Net worth is not the same as self-worth.
Want to know more? This PDF explains each of the 40 money management tips in more detail.
Learn how to bank smart with your money here.