Regardless of where you are on the college journey, it’s important to learn good money management skills. In fact, it should be a priority. The college years are often the first opportunities for many to be independent and also the first time having to deal with bills, saving and debt. Students need to exercise caution when it comes to borrowing. Learning and understanding ways to deal with this new responsibility is key to future growth. Far too often college students establish drowning debt in pursuit of filling every compulsive shopping urge.

Keep in mind that employers are now using money management history as a way to screen potential employees. How a person handles this responsibility is used as a representative of the person overall management skill and where they may be in terms of maturity to understand important matters at hand. You may have the highest GPA possible, but could very well be passed over based on a poor credit history.

Creating a Solid Base
Think before you act and use an established plan…a budget. This will not only make college life less stressful, but is one a life-skill you will need well beyond college. When creating a budget, make sure its realistic and one you can actually follow. Your budget should list all your sources of income and projected expenses. Especially when first getting started, it is a good idea to keep a log of all your spending. This will allow you to see clearly what type of spending habits and patterns you follow. Knowing your own habits will help you to make needed changes that protect you from getting into deep financial problems. Expenses should be less than income.

Balancing the log can be the tricky part. If your income comes up short of covering your expenses, you have two options; increase your income or reduce your spending. For many college students, additional time at work is not always an option. You may need to come up with some creative ways to cut down on the expenses. Start by being honest about the things you can live without and cut back on them. Follow that up with learning to cut and be frugal about the items you simply must have.

* Borrow from friends and family in place of high interest credit lines.
* Choose generic instead of name brand.
* Buy used (consignment stores, garage sales, online resale, etc.)
* Purchase items in bulk. Buy items as a group to receive and share savings.

Compare Banks & Banking
One of the most overlooked ways to save money is by comparison shopping your banking needs. They too are consumer-based business’s that compete for customers. The fee’s and charges for banking services vary from bank to bank. Consumers can save hundreds of dollars each year by comparing these services. Local credit unions are often cheapest banking option. They tend to have the lowest rates on loans and cheapest fee’s. Don’t simply take my word; take time to research the banking options in your area for savings for your pocket.

Here are some additional banking tips that may help you to save some money.

* Always use cash when possible. If you can avoid using credit, it is wise to do so.
* Pay bills on time! Not only will you pay fees, but interest rate may rise due to late payments. There is also the negative mark on your credit score that may hinder future lines of credit.
* Regularly review accounts. Report errors right away.
* Try to have some savings for emergencies. (Small amounts are better than nothing!)

A little bit of creativeness will go a long way. The ideas provided here are only touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to smart money management. These types of ideas are often the way people structure the way they live in order to avoid financial pitfalls and even grow financially. It’s through structured financial management that people are able to establish the financial foundation needed to grow a secure financial future.

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