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4 Money Management Tips for College Students

Sep 16, 2016

The school season is in full swing for college students. Between a filled workload of studying, attending lectures, and handling other projects, it's very easy to put financial awareness on the back burner.  Before you find yourself in the thick of things, it's a good idea to think about whether or not you're minding your money habits and properly managing your finances.

Money Management Tips

To help wisely manage your money during college, students should consider the following money management tips:

  1. Set up a checking account.

    • Many college students are getting their first taste of either earning money at a part-time job or paying rent among expenses. If you haven't already, sign up for a checking account. Credit Unions offer a simple place to receive and spend money without carrying cash.

    • Other benefits from a checking account include direct deposit, debit card usage and online banking and bill pay. Additionally, most financial institutions offer free financial education resources to their members that can help build overall financial knowledge for the long run.
  1. Mind your meals.

    • Between trips to the classroom, home and the library, squeezing in a quick and easy meal at the student dining hall or fast food joint is an easy choice. However, it's also likely the most expensive option. You can actually save hundreds of dollars by planning meals ahead of time and bringing them from home.

    • Hard to believe? Check out the Lunch Savings Calculator on PFCU.com to see the cost of a bagged lunch vs. the cost of eating out. You'd be surprised how much money you can save!
  1. Consider transportation costs.

    • Some semesters will have you clocking in five class days a week. That's plenty of back and forth from school to home, which can mean a lot of gas money if you're driving every day. It's smart to assess your transportation situation and determine if you have more frugal options. For example, many colleges offer discounted public transportation for full-time students. Check to see what your school offers and take advantage of the benefits that are available to you.

  2. Know your FAFSA dates.

    • On September 14, 2015, changes were made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that affect the 2017–18 application cycle. One of these changes includes students being able to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1st, 2016.  It's important to know your dates and deadlines. Not everyone knows that many colleges award funds on a first-come, first-served basis.  For that reason, it's important to file as soon as possible!

To view more information on FAFSA and student aid deadlines, visit the FAFSA website.

Have a great semester!


Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor
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