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Financial Advice for Freshmen

5 Financial MUSTs for College Freshmen

It’s that time of year. Graduation ceremonies are happening all over the country and students have made their final college choices. While it’s a celebratory time for many families, the realities of living on your own for the first time can present some personal financial challenges.

The four years you have at a university or college can present an opportunity to get financially ahead or a roadblock to accomplishing what you hoped to achieve before you enrolled.

Share these five tips with the college freshman in your life. Having the knowledge before attending orientation can make all the difference!

1. Budget

Budget, Budget, Budget… nothing, new right? Not such a unique concept, however; it is essential. When starting a new life in a new place, it is easy to forget about the realities of your personal financial situation. If you’re able to master your monthly fixed expenses, you’ll be set up for success for the coming years. Utilizing mint.com is a great way to start. They even have a smartphone app so you can keep track of your spending on the go.

2. Buy Used Books

The average student can spend up to $1,000 a year on their books. This unexpected cost can come as a shock for many new  students. The campus prices offered will almost always be more expensive than alternative options. Buying books from Amazon or renting textbooks from your college bookstore can save you almost half the cost.

3. Continue to apply for scholarships

Many students stop their scholarship search after fall semester. Don’t give up hope! There are many scholarships that have spring deadlines and can provide additional opportunities. Scholarships.com, fastweb.com, and collegeboard.com are a few resources to utilize in this search.

4. Take Advantage of Student Perks/Discounts

The campus cafeteria is a no-brainer as far as the traditional student discounts, however; there are many companies that offer discounts to students. Restaurants, retailers, museums, and theaters are a few of the options that have student discounts. Show your ID and save.

5. Invest in your future self

Most importantly, make the investment in yourself. College is an expensive endeavor and taking advantage of the time is basically, the whole point. Volunteering or getting a meaningful internship can lead to opportunities after graduation. If you’re able to secure a job offer right out of college, you’re definitely ahead of the game. Check out the career center at your school or visit sites like idealist.org


What advice would you offer college students? What mishaps did you run into in school? 

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Comment   |  5 years, 8 months ago from Denver, CO