5 Financial Tips for College Freshmen

Article courtesy of Member One Federal Credit Union

You’ve picked out your dorm decorations, emailed your roommate, and printed out your class schedule and campus map. But, you’re not really ready for freshman year unless you’ve considered your finances! Here are five tips to get you off on the right financial foot for the next four years and beyond. 

Choose the right banking account. 

College may be the first time you’ve chosen your own financial institution, since many of us start out keeping our savings in the same credit union or bank as our parents. But in college your banking needs are likely to change. Look for a checking account with no fees or minimum balance requirement. If you’re leaving home for school, your financial institution should either have an ATM on or near campus, or should waive ATM fees. Some financial institutions offer checking accounts designed with college students in mind, and may even offer student-focused money-management advice. 

Get a part-time job.

Even if you’re feeling flush with financial aid right now, those funds can disappear a lot faster than you think. Not only that, but financial aid money is really only meant for spending on educational expenses. You may see some of your classmates using their financial aid for some less-than academic expenditures—but if you’re earning your own spending money on the job, you’ll be less tempted to do the same. That, in turn, may help you to borrow less money and get out of college with less debt!

Don’t pay full price for books. 

If you want to spend the most money you possibly can on your textbooks, buy them from the school bookstore. Otherwise, try to find them just about anywhere else. Check with textbook rental companies like Chegg, scour through Amazon and eBay, explore your campus library, or even ask around if any fellow students might have a copy to sell secondhand. 

Take advantage of the “free” stuff. 

When you look back on these best four years of your life, you’ll sigh fondly at the memory of all the free stuff that comes with being a college student. From t-shirt giveaways and free food trucks on the quad, to gym access and on-campus healthcare services, take full advantage of everything “free” your school offers you. Technically, most of this isn’t truly “free” since your tuition and student fees went toward covering it—but that’s all the more reason to get what you paid for!

Start networking now. 

College is fun, but don’t forget the real reason you’re there: to prepare for your future career. One of the best ways to do this is to start networking early, because like it or not, there’s truth in the saying that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Join clubs and organizations related to your major, complete an internship, assist a professor with research, and add classmates on LinkedIn. These kinds of college activities will set you up for financial success after graduation day and beyond!

Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.