GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Making the transition from high school student to college student can be confusing. There are a lot of changes and many new responsibilities.
Adapting to college is full of life lessons and the biggest lesson involves handling money. Joining KARE 11 Sunrise to discuss some advice for students is Dan Ament, Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley in Wayzata.
Teach your kids - The plurality of U.S. adults continue to learn about personal finance primarily from their parents or at home (33%). Given the importance of parents instilling a foundation of skills / understanding related to financial matters; they themselves aren't making the grade. The 2013 study by Harris Interactive found that 40% of adults give themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance.
Make a budget - and stick to it - It's no easy feat staying fiscally responsible in college. Make a list of your mandatory monthly expenses so you understand where your money has to go. Things like, rent, utilities, transportation, groceries, parking, school supplies, debt repayment, and student or activity fees fall in this category. Once you know where your money has to go each month you'll be able to set up a budget. Put yourself on an allowance for things like entertainment, eating out, clothing, and special purchases. This will help rein in the out-of-control spending.
Understand your financial aid package - One of the easiest ways to mismanage funds is to not fully understand what your financial aid package includes and when and how you'll need to start paying back loans. Be sure you talk to your school's financial aid officer about what your options are for paying for your education, and check in with them regularly if things change.
Credit cards - If you have your own credit card as a college freshman, be sure you understand the power you hold with that small rectangular piece of plastic. Having a credit card is a good idea so that you can build a good credit history throughout college so it's easier for you to take out loans or buy a car once you're finished. But be careful - if you pay late or build up debt for months, it can be difficult to dig out of and you can really hurt your credit score.
Making the 'minimum' payment - Assume you have a credit card balance of $1,500 and an APR of 18%.
By paying just the minimum payment due each month:
Total Minimum payment: Initially $37 per month
Time it will take to get rid of debt: 160 months
Total interest charge during payback period: $1,792.52
By paying $10 more than the total minimum due:
Monthly payment: $47 (initial $37 due plus $10 extra)
Time it will take to get rid of debt: 44 months
Total interest charge during payback period: $555.70
By paying $10 more than the total minimum payment, but still making that fixed payment until the debt is paid off, you will save $1,236.76 in interest payments and pay off your debt 116 months faster -- almost 10 years earlier.
Get Organized - Keep your bills, bank statements and receipts all in one place. Organize them by month and by category, for example; rent, bills, and expenses. Keep them in a safe place. Make sure to go over your bank statements carefully and keep all ATM receipts.
Forming good habits now will help keep you in good financial shape in the future.
Fore more money saving tips, Dan suggests these links:
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