Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lesson III: Managing Your Finances (for Students)

Unless your an ivy league bound** trust fund baby with a few of Mommy and Daddy's credit cards on hand then your likely to have to watch your finances while in college and for the rest of your adult life. Or else you will end up with a perminant diet of ramen noodles and using empty milk crates as major furnature pieces (no offense to anyone who has a fondness for ramen and milk crates.) Rather then have me make this long post on managing your finances during college I will post a link to a post from another blog that I think sums it up nicely and I will put my own thoughts on it.

27 Money Tips for College Students

First let me say I think this is a really good post (well obviously because I wouldn't have linked it otherwise.) Props to J.D Roth for writing it. J.D breaks down his post of tips into the catagories of Money Management, Organizational and Planning, Campus Life, Personal Life, Decision Making and Money Making so thats how I will discuss them.

Money Managment
I completely agree with him on the tips that he says with the exception of "Don't get a credit card unless you need one."I know he's making that statement for a large amount of people who at this age really aren't ready to handle the responsibility of having a credit card. I personally have two credit cards and although I don't "need" them I am using them to build a solid credit history. I think the important thing to realize is that you are old enough at this point to know if you can handle a credit card, if you don't think you are able to handle it responbily then just don't get one. You have to realize that you can't spend more then you make and you have to keep on top of your payments or you will be royally skrewed and your credit history will be shot to hell. If you do get one (weither its because you need it or you want to establish a good credit history early on) make sure you shop around for the best plan for you, make sure you start off with a low credit limit and keep track of all the purchases you make with the card.

Organizational and Planning
These tips are really important be sure not to skip by these or take them too lightly.

Campus Life
I think that these tips are good because keeping yourself busy acamedically and socially will prevent you with making purchases out of boredom rather than neceddity. The only one that I have an issue with is "Live without a car." One again that's all well and good if you don't have a part time job or other commitments off campus and thats assuming you live on campus. I go to a community college at the moment and having a car is critical for me, I also have friends who live on campus at there schools but they have part time jobs and stuff off campus and only relying on public transportation simply isn't possible. If you can live without a car then by all means its a good idea but if you can't then you just can't.

Personal Life
All I can say is... Who would have thought that buying tons of pot, smoking ciggerettes and chugging beer by the keg could present some financial issues?

Decision Making
This stuff really is common sence and stuff you should be doing already weither your in college or not. But then again... not everyone uses common sence so if your one of those people you should re-read it and get it in your head now.

Making Money
I like it how the blogger mentioned about having a part-time job in this section. In my opinon I think that college students should have some form of a part time job while in school (weither its at the college, off campus or an intership.) I think that it helps balance out all the time in class, it gives you some money to work with and chances are you might be able to find one that has to do with your major. The only thing I would have added to the list was that while investing is important you should also be putting atleast a small portion of your weekly earnings into some form of an interest-earning savings account that you don't touch. This is incase of an emergency or to save up for a future large purchase (such as rent for an apartment or a car etc.)

Once again if you have comments or even more suggestions of things to add I'm all ears.

** I am in no way saying that anyone who is bound for an Ivy League college is rich or papered or some sort of trust fund baby. I know that if your there its most likely because you've worked your ass off and deserve to be there, not because your parents footed the bill for the new library or something.

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