Managing Your Money for Winter Break By Lin Lawson, Student Service Counselor In college comes life-lessons in money management. But personal finance can be easy, even if you’re just starting out. You just have to know how it works. Now that you’re on your own, you might be tempted to spend money on all the things your parents wouldn’t let you have before. Go slow. If you play it smart, you can avoid the sort of money troubles that plague many young adults. Money Managing Tips Track your money. *** Once you realize how much impulse buying and other indulgences cost you, it will be easier to tell yourself "NO!" Be careful. Going to the movies, riding the bus, or even ordering pizza might cost less if you show your student I.D. Check travel fares for student discounts on bus and other commercial transit services as well as student discounts when you need to travel by air. Money Managing Tips Cont. Stay financially secure by using caution. *** Don't give anyone your Social Security, credit card, or bank account numbers unless you know why they need them. Never give a pin number to anyone! Review credit card statements, bank statements, phone bills, etc. for unauthorized use. Avoid scholarship scams. Real scholarships never charge fees and application information is available and free to everyone. Money Managing Tips Cont. Keep only one or two major credit cards and use it sparingly. Set your own credit line and don't charge more than you can comfortably repay. Just because you have a $2,000 credit line doesn’t mean you have to spend $2,000 A budget is like a money diet. Just because you bust it today, doesn't mean you can't start if again tomorrow. If you go over budget this week, next week commit to staying under budget. Money Managing Tips Cont. Make a personal budget based on your savings and income. Round up your available cash including gift money (if you're a recent high school grad), scholarship money, student loans, summer job savings, and money from your parents. You may want to designate types of money for certain uses. For instance: Think of student loans as an investment in your education and your future. Use student loan funds only to pay school expenses like tuition and books. Use money from home for things like groceries and phone bills. Give yourself an allowance. Track your spending to find where your money goes and then choose between your wants and real needs. Budget for a month at a time but set aside some time to review your finances each week. Money Managing Tips Cont. Build an emergency fund. Save change in a piggy bank or jar. Deposit $X.XX a week from paychecks in a savings account when you cash your check. Make bill paying easier by filing your bills by due date. *** Buy books when you need them. Compare online prices with those at campus bookstores. Buy used books when you can. Check bulletin boards and school newspapers as well as used bookstores and online used booksellers. *** Money Managing Tips Cont. Get a money calendar. Any calendar with big windows with room to write in amounts will do. Use the calendar windows to note: Due Dates for scholarship and grant applications. Missing an application deadline is the most common mistake students make when applying for scholarships. Upcoming school expenses (books and tuitions). Bill payment dates. Upcoming activities where you'll need cash. (Movies, dances, parties, etc.) Money Managing Tips Cont. Put your roommate in your financial planning. If you can, contact your roommate before the semester starts and decide how you'll divide expenses. Talk to your parents about who pays for what. Find out what you can count on from them and what you will be responsible for. Ask for help when you need it. If you run into a financial disaster, call home and let your parents know you're in trouble. If an unexpected event changes your home financial situation, don't give up on school! First, talk with your financial aid office. Most colleges set aside funds to help students get through difficult situations. *** Productive Winter Break Last but not least, winter break is a good time to start getting things together financially for the spring semester. You should enjoy your break but squeeze in some time now so you wont have to rush when school starts up. File your FAFSA: If you are returning to schoo next fall, submit your FAFSA as early as January 1st. Check out: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ Productive Winter Break Cont. Start a list of scholarships: This is a good time to put together a Scholarship Tracking spreadsheet that lists the name, deadline, and a way to track requirements (such as essays, letters of recommendation, or resumes). This will help you get organized so you can complete applications and submit materials much more quickly Check out: http://www.fastweb.com/ Productive Winter Break Cont. Save Money: Are you working over break? Did you get some cash gifts as holiday present? If so, save them so you have a good start when spring semester starts; for emergencies or what not’s. Check out: 10 Ways College Students Can Make Money Over Winter Break Source: “http://www.moneymanagementtips.com” HAVE FUN Last but definitely not least, HAVE FUN!!!: The spring semester is always full of deadlines, ceremonies, and goes much more quickly (or seems to) than the fall semester. So take a little time to enjoy your break! Website resources for College students on money management http://www.scholarships.com/resources/campuslife/money-management/8-great-ways-to-save-moneyin-college/ http://www.youngmoney.com/credit_debt/money_man agement/spending/020809_02_982_982/ http://www.inverhills.edu/studentresources/Financial Aid/MoneyManagement.aspx Money management quiz Now, lets see if you remember best ways to managing money. Pick the best answers! Good luck. Answer key is at the end 1) If should you need help because you are struggling this month to pay for groceries and phone bill. What should you do? a) Work extra shifts at your work and do badly in school. b) Ask your parents or friends for help. c) Max out your credit card. 2) When tipping in a restaurant while on a budget. You should…? a) Tip well even when the service is mediocre. You don’t want to embarrass the server. b) Tip lavishly because the waiter was cute c) Tip in accordance with the quality of the service. Money management quiz cont. 3) If you need money for next semesters classes. a) Apply for a credit card b) Apply for scholarships and grants c) Apply for two different jobs so you will get two pay checks. 4) As long as you still have money at the end of the week, you don't really need to keep track of where you're spending your money. True or False? Money management quiz cont. 5) When you get your bank statement via mail or email, you: a) Check it over carefully b) Give up trying to figure it out after a few minutes. c) Toss it in a drawer and assume the company must be right. 6) If asked how much is in your bank account right now, you’d say? a) “I am not sure of the exact balance” b) “I have $XX.XX amount. Which is right on track with my budget” c) “I hope I didn’t bounce any checks this week” Money management quiz cont. 7) After pulling an all-nighter studying for an exam, you need a cappuccino to keep you awake for the test. The bank's Web site shows that you have $25 left in your account. You head to the coffee shop to purchase your cappuccino, assuming the debit card will be declined if there are insufficient funds. True or False? 8) You have this big Lady Gaga concert coming up and a ticket is $200 and you don’t have any money in your bank account. But you have one credit card and the limit on the card is $2,000 and you have already used $1,800. What should you do? a) Max out your credit card instead of saving that money for real emergencies. b) Borrow it from a friend but you have to give it back when you get your next paycheck but your check is only going to be $350 and you have to pay your bills. c) Skip the Gaga concert for now. There will be more concerts. Answer Key for Quiz • • • • • • • • 1) B 2) C 3) B 4) False 5) A 6) B 7) False 8) C The End! Have a great Break!