12 smart money moves for students starting school this fall

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It’s never too early to make smart money moves and Credit Sesame has put together 12 for students starting school this fall.

Fall semester is around the corner. As the excitement builds, don’t forget to get your finances in shape for the new school year. Smart money moves and developing financial habits now will benefit you throughout your academic journey. Here are 12 tips to help you become a money-savvy student:

1. Budget like a boss

List your income sources (allowances, part-time jobs, financial aid) and expenses (tuition, textbooks, rent, groceries, etc.). Track your spending to avoid unnecessary purchases and ensure you have enough for essentials. Look for free budgeting apps and online tools to help you get started.

2. Open a student-friendly bank account

Do some research and find a student checking account with no monthly fees and free ATM access, especially for student ID ATMs. This will help you manage your everyday money and avoid unnecessary charges.

3. Demystify financial aid

Financial aid can be a lifesaver but understand the terms and conditions. Know when and how you’ll receive the funds and what expenses they cover. Don’t hesitate to ask your school’s financial aid office for clarification if anything seems unclear.

4. Scholarship search

If you missed the boat for a fall start, searching and applying for scholarships throughout the school year is possible. Many opportunities exist for students with various backgrounds, achievements, and specific majors. Utilize scholarship search engines and resources offered by your school’s financial aid office to uncover potential funding sources.

5. Become a discount ninja

Students have discount superpowers. Many businesses offer student discounts on software, clothing, electronics, entertainment, and even food. Always carry your student ID and ask if a discount is available. These savings can add up quickly.

6. Try to find textbook deals

Textbooks are notorious for draining wallets. Explore used book options, rentals, or digital versions to save money. Consider buying or renting only the textbooks you absolutely need for each semester. Sell back your textbooks at the end of the term if possible.

7. Be cautious with credit cards

Building credit can be beneficial, but credit cards can also be a double-edged sword. If you choose to get a student credit card, use it responsibly. Avoid impulse purchases and always pay your bill on time in full to prevent debt and high-interest charges. Remember, responsible credit card use now can help build credit, which translates to better loan rates and insurance deals in the future.

8. Supplement your income

If your schedule allows, consider a part-time job. A few hours a week can provide extra income to reduce reliance on loans and offer valuable work experience. Just be sure to prioritize your studies and manage your time effectively.

9. Master the kitchen

Eating out constantly can break the bank. Learn to cook simple, healthy meals at home. Plan your meals, create a grocery list, and stick to it to avoid impulse buys at the store. Leftovers can be your lunch heroes, saving you money and time.

10. Avoid peer pressure spending

It’s easy to feel pressured to spend money to keep up with friends. Be mindful of your budget and find free or low-cost activities to enjoy together. Your financial health is more important than fitting in.

11. Improve your financial literacy

Knowledge is power! Take the time to learn about personal finance. Many free resources are available online, including blogs, podcasts, and online courses. Understanding concepts like budgeting, saving, investing, and credit management will benefit you throughout your life.

12. Set SMART financial goals

Do you dream of studying abroad, buying a car, or achieving financial independence? Set goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Break down your financial goals into smaller steps and track your progress. Having clear goals will keep you motivated to stick to your budget and make smart financial decisions.

Making smart money moves now is an investment in your future. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to financial success during your academic journey.

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Disclaimer: The article and information provided here are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Katrina Boydon
Katrina Boydon has been consulting in web content and media operations for over 20 years. When she’s not strategising, devising topics, editing or managing distribution, she likes to put fingers to keyboard and create original articles on a range of topics.

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