I'm hanging out on the Bowdoin College campus today in Brunswick, Maine, and talking to incoming freshmen about the super sweet free4ME checking account that credit unions have to offer. I don't think there could ever be too many financial tips to offer incoming students at any college, so I decided to provide you with a few more as the first week of school is close behind. Dailyfinance.com has a great article (which you can find here) that talks about the new "Freshmen 15" and saving tips to make sure you stay out of debt as much as you can. Given the fact that I talked about the "Freshmen 15" on Friday, I decided that this is a great topic. Here are a few of the tips they offer while attending college.
There's a good chance that your professors at school have connections around the state, and around the country. One of my former professors worked at CNN in Los Angeles for years before coming to teach at UMaine. Another one of my professors worked for Volkswagen in Germany before coming to Maine to teach. Don't burn bridges with professors in college. Chances are, you'll need references at some point in time throughout your career, and college professors are great resources to have. I made sure that I graduated from my department on a good note, and to this day, I still use my professors for references. I also use them whenever I need a letter of recommendation. They have never declined.
Find the Student Perks and use Them
Throughout the year, different companies will offer special perks if you are a college student. Often times this will come in the form of discounts at surrounding stores. For instance, Margaritas restaurant has a Wednesday night special where if you and your friend have your student IDs, the meals are buy one get one free. I don't know about you, but free meals are always appealing to me. Split the cost of the dinner, and you have a pretty cheap night out. Don't be afraid to ask business either. Many stores and organizations have discounts for students but do not advertise. Ask! You never know what you'll find out.
Make a Budget...Then Follow it
I've made budgets for myself before, and pretty much never followed them. Making a budget is great, but it's useless if you don't follow it. Make sure you know how much money is in your account, and determine how much you need to spend on the essentials each week. Make sure you don't spend more than you budget allows. One of the I spend excess amounts of money on is dining and eating out. If you live on campus, use the dining hall as much as you can, and save money. The meal plans have already been taken out of your tuition, so you might as well use that up before spending any significant amount of money on food. Now that's not to say don't ever spend money on food, but be wary of how much you spend. One or two nights out a week can easily add up to major amounts of cash that are gone before you know it.
Check out the article to find out 12 more ways to help yourself throughout your college years. Establishing a good financial groove is a great way to make sure you don't get stressed out about money when you head to college!
What are you doing to prepare for college?