Managing finances is often tough for those who are away at college for the first time. Leaving home and starting out on your own can be a daunting challenge, but it’s one that provides unending benefits and opportunities for personal growth as well. With these four great tips on how to manage your finances and set yourself up for a lifetime of success, getting started as a freshman is simple.
1. Seek out scholarship opportunities for a lighter financial load
Finding scholarships is something that all college students must prioritize in order to maximize their financial health. Scholarships take the burden off of savings accounts or credit card spending in these crucial early days. Many students are eligible for National Honor Scholarship Society funding and can really benefit from the inclusion of this opportunity in their financial pictures. With membership in a variety of high school clubs, social activities, and honor societies, adding in additional sources of scholarship money is easier than ever. Finding scholarships to help lighten the burden of college tuition is a must for any freshman who is just starting their journey into collegiate life.
2. Utilize a student credit card to build your credit history
In addition to scholarship funding, it’s important to begin building your credit history as soon as possible with the use of a credit card and credit card issuer that you trust. Students who are on their own for the first time will benefit from the inclusion of an emergency spending outlet in the form of a credit card, but they also lock in the boost that building credit can provide as a byproduct. With today’s credit card offerings in the U.S. and Canada utilizing mobile app platforms and other technologies, cardholders are able to build and maintain a good credit score and good standing with their finances and credit card accounts with ease.
Perusing a list of student credit cards for Canada or the U.S. can help you find the perfect blend of perks, credit limit, balance transfer and cash advances, and low annual fee and minimum payment structure in a credit card (either a secured credit card or a traditional credit card). Getting this credit card choice right can set you up for a long future that’s full of financial success and a great credit report to go with your bank account and investments. Another option here is to be added as an authorized user on a parent’s credit card. In the first years of eligibility for a student credit card or traditional credit card issuer relationship, maintaining yourself simply as an authorized user can give you the credit score elements that you need in order to get a better bargain on your own credit card in the not-too-distant future.
3. Start investing today
Investments are a crucial component for building wealth over the long term. Today, investors are locked into a variety of different markets, from stocks to real estate and cryptocurrency. No matter where your interest and belief system lies in the world of personal finance, there’s an asset class out there that can help make your hopes and dreams come true.
Many people get into investing in their college years through the use of a low- or no-cost brokerage model, like the Robinhood platform. With these opportunities in abundance these days, launching an investment balance and growing your portfolio over the long term is actually quite easy.
4. Plan the long horizon of life in this early stage
Your freshman year of college might seem like a low-stakes opportunity to grow into the person you’ll be for the rest of your life. There is a certain amount of responsibility that comes along with this new work-life balance, but it’s more important to get this year right than you might know. Planning for your financial future takes long-term vision, and it’s crucial to get this dialed in during your early years. Planning the career you’ll chase after, the savings strategy you’ll employ, and more offers a great way to create the blueprint for your life that will carry you through these important years and long beyond them.
With these tips in mind, making good financial decisions is easier than ever.