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Money Tips For College Students

Ask Savvy: Money Tips For College Students

Dear Savvy,

I'm still a student and am in my last year of school. While hearing about what I can do about budget and credit card debt has been very helpful, I don't really know what I can do now to reduce/eliminate debt as a student on the cusp of starting a new chapter in her life! Any suggestions?

You bet I have some — to see what they are just

I think one of the biggest challenges as a college student is to not rack up too much debt. I watched one of my roommates dig herself into a whole mess of debt — even though it seemed like she was constantly working as a waitress, she was always buying stuff that she didn't need and spending a ton of cash whenever we'd go out. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a thriving social life in college.

If you've already accumulated heavy debt, or even if you've managed to keep yourself grounded about spending and have a manageable amount of debt, why not start paying it off now? Don't wait until you've graduated and are earning a more sizable paycheck, because you'll have even more expenses once you've moved away from college-town. If you have student loans, those payments will kick in soon after you've graduated, not to mention moving expenses, furniture for an apartment, professional work attire, and rent.

Besides tackling whatever debt you've acquired, since you're a senior you should start putting money aside for the inevitable. By that I mean a security deposit on an apartment, and all of the other expenses that I listed above. Step back and take a look at your spending, maybe record everything you spend money on for a few weeks, and figure out where you can cut back in order to put more into savings and toward debt payments.

I'm assuming that you're graduating in just a few short months, so begin putting together a professional resume and you'll have plenty of time to edit it to perfection. That way, you can immediately apply for eye-catching job listings and avoid missing out on good opportunities. Congrats, soon-to-be-grad, and good luck!


Join The Conversation
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I think it is inevitable that college students are going to load up debt...whether through school loans are credit cards. I know I have...however I have found a pretty good solution. At the end of each year, I take out a loan from my bank with a secured..low interest rate, and consolidate all my debts from credit cards, medical bills, etc. I have found this to be a life now instead of paying minimum payments on credit cards that I will never be able to pay off with the gigantic interest rates, I pay one monthly payment of $100...which is very manageable. Also, this has done wonders for my credit score!!
kaylasix kaylasix 9 years
Wow... I don't know where you all live but where I go to school an apartment is like double the cost of living in dorms... especially since you only have to pay 9 months for a dorm but most of the landlords here require 12-month leases
chiccarmel chiccarmel 9 years
I agree with angel also. I understand what you mean though tdamji. I agree with angel because sometimes if you add up the cost dorms are more expensive than apartments. I know my apartment in college at the end of the school years was cheaper than room and board. But if you don't have the money up front for room and board, paying rent every can be easier. But for some monthly payment are a challenge.
kitkat87 kitkat87 9 years
thanks for the tips! i'm graduating next year, too.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
the part i mentioned about people living in dorms is in a different sentence from the "luxury" part - and i said "not everyone has the luxury of not paying rent..." - this would include people paying rent for their crappy dorms. no where in my comment can i possibly see how one would get: dorm life=luxury. "it surprises me how many people live in dorms and have all expenses paid for by parents." - i guess i meant that so many people seem to live in dorms, which cost a lot more than paying rent in an apartment, at least here they do - so It is just surprising, as it is not really a money-saving solution here. and then to put up with the awful experience?! ah. not for me. i know it is so easy to just do that though and not have to commute to school and worry about rent every month since it is paid for at the beginning - and most include food, too. oh, and also i was saying it is crazy how many people have all expenses paid for by parents and live in the "luxury" condos here on campus.
AnnaLove AnnaLove 9 years
I agree with the above poster, since when are the dorms a luxury experience?! I stayed there the first year since the school made me, but it was the biggest nightmare of my life. My roommates and I all hated eachother and it was so cramped and ugly. This year my parents got me an apartment b/c the dorms were pretty much unlivable. I'm muuch happier now. Thank god I don't have to pay anything for school yet, but the cost of med school is so high and I don't know if I want to go into that kind of debt. I may be moving back to Poland, where the university system is free to citizens. America is in DESPERATE need of this kind of thing (not to mention our health insurance crisis). Luckily, I'm sure my parents would do everything they can to help me if I decide to stay here but I'm sure I'd accumulate some debt still. I know many people's parents are not so willing to help, though, which is why it's so unfortunate "you have to have money to make money."
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
I would never call my living in the dorms a luxury experience. I moved out during the last 2 years since it was much more expensive than getting an apartment.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
it surprises me how many people live in dorms and have all expenses paid for by parents. not everyone has the luxury of not paying rent etc. while attending school. i think you'll find that many people are in my same situation of having student loans, working part-time, getting a bit of help from parents and also having some debt to pay off. i have one more year left but since i am a "mature" student of 27 i came into the university experience with a bit of debt. nothing i can do about it but make payments and try not to spend much in my last year.
princessjaslew princessjaslew 9 years
thank you! that's great advice! i still wish I have another year to go before graduating though!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Great tips Savvy! I finally graduate next year! :)
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