Going to college can be one of life’s most exciting events and is the best time to learn about managing their own finances.
- Teach budgeting: Since college freshman will likely have fixed income and predictable expenses. You can teach the basics of budgeting by showing your student how to create a simple spreadsheet of income and expected expenses.
- Go Mobile: Nowadays most students are spending a lot of time on their smartphones. There are lots of great apps available for money management, especially from financial institutions. Many have budgeting tools and alerts that make tracking spending a breeze.
- Teach the importance of wise credit card use: Students should understand the benefits of good credit and the importance of limiting credit card debt, especially if they’re planning to rent an apartment or finance a car after graduation. Getting them started with a prepaid debit card before they leave for college is a great way to help them practice good judgment with limited consequences (as it won’t affect their future credit). Parents can add funds to the card any time and monitor spending to see what types of financial decisions their student is making.
- Open a student-friendly checking account: Many financial institutions offer checking accounts custom-made for college students. Look for an account, that has no minimum balance and no monthly service fee. By giving your student an increasing amount of financial responsibility as they grow, you’ll be helping them develop good financial habits.