|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
College isn't easy for everyone. For many, it is a the first time that they are out on their own and completely responsible for their own finances. It is the first time that they have to rely only on themselves to make sure that they have enough money to take care of all of their financial needs. With that in mind, it is a good idea to be aware of the mistakes that many college students make in their first year out on their own.
Spending Their Loan Money
Remember that the student loans that you have received are for your education - not for fun! Your first priority should always be paying for tuition and books. Then you need to make sure that your housing needs are taken care of and that you will have enough left over to feed yourself each month. If your student loans are your only form of income, it is even more important to spend your money wisely. Try not to spend it on things like eating out and going on vacation.
Building Up Credit Card Debt
Once you start college you might find that the credit card companies are jumping to get you signed up. Of course they are - you are the future spenders of the country! If you do get a credit card make sure that you don’t spend what you can’t pay off in a month. Each month that your balance is not paid off costs you more money in the long run. Turning to your credit cards for little luxuries is an easy habit to get into and those little luxuries soon become big ones.
Letting Bills Slide
Most college students will have bills outside of food and housing to take care of. Cell phones are the norm these days but they can easily get out of hand if you’re not paying your bill each month. Your bills and how you pay them will affect your credit rating in the future and if you get behind or, even worse, have your bills sent to collections, you are likely to find that buying a car or a house is very difficult in the future.
Not Making a Budget
Learn how to make a budget now while your expenses are at a minimum. Plan to pay bills and credit cards on time. Plan to set aside money in a savings account, even if your income is minimal. Once you get used to it, budgeting becomes a lifelong habit that will benefit you far into your future.