Welcome to college! Time to put into practice all those high school courses you took on budgeting and personal finance. Wait… you were never offered any such courses of study? You’re not alone. It is fair to assume that the majority of U.S. students will enter their freshman year with little to no formal guidance in the world of finance, money, or banking. From Day One, college women are buffeted from all sides with products, opportunities, and “financial assistance” (i.e. credit cards) that are lauded as the solution to the slew of financial challenges that they will encounter over their college years.
Chances are, you’ve had financial advice dumped on you by friends, family, strange cousins, banks, and individuals that have no business being in your bank account. Let us break it down for you. Here are the five pieces of financial advice that actually matter. No matter the size of your portfolio, or if you even have one, these five things will help you to keep it simple, wade through the muck, and make it out the other end a financially savvy and empowered woman.
5 Money Management Rules for the College Woman
Hide your credit card – Seriously though, put your credit card in your sock drawer and keep it there. Your wallet will appreciate the break and you will be forced to think more before buying that cute dress that you don’t need. This applies to Amazon and other online retailers, as well. Don’t let them save your credit card information. You’ll think twice when you have to dig out your card and enter the digits in the online form.
Have a “splurge budget” – Who says you can’t have fun on a budget? Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room to enjoy yourself without suffering through a financial hangover when the bill arrives.
Help others – Work philanthropy into your monthly spending. It might seem like an impossible or unnecessary expense, but even $5.00 a month to a worthy cause keeps you mindful of the power of the dollar. Eventually, these amounts can add up to a tax write-off, so keep a record of your donations.
Know your money – Don’t let someone else *cough* your parents *cough* hold all of the reigns. Even if you don’t pay every bill, ask to be involved in the decisions. This way, when it’s time to truly strike out on your own, you will know how much to allocate to each expense.
Make your own rules – Every person is different, and college is a time for experimentation, after all. No spending tracker or financial management system is right for everyone. The key is to keep trying until you find the path to your own financial freedom.