Do you have a son or daughter who is collegebound this fall? Before heading off to college, young adults should have a basic understanding of money management. College may be the first time they will be responsible for managing money. Even if Mom and Dad are paying the bills, they will not be around to help make everyday spending decisions. Students can be tempted by credit card offers or feel peer pressure to spend more than their budget will allow.
Overspending and poor use of credit while in college can have lasting effects on financial success after college. Talk to your children to help them develop a plan for handling money and expenses once they get to college.
Share these money tips to help get her college career on track financially.
- Encourage your child to establish a checking account. Often universities are affiliated with credit unions that offer student accounts. A local bank will also provide easy access to cashing checks, making deposits or ATMs. Have your child set up text and email alerts to notify when balances are low.
- Urge your son or daughter to avoid getting a credit card and especially more than one credit card. Often college students (and parents) feel the need to get a credit card in case of emergencies. However, the credit card often becomes a temptation that leads to nonacademic debt. Credit card companies many times set up on college campuses to entice students.
- If your child has bills such as cable, Internet or other utilities, stress the importance of paying on time. Help your child set up online banking or automatic bill pay reminders to make bill paying simpler.
- Help your child establish a spending plan. If your child receives a lump sum of money at the beginning of the semester from scholarships or student loans, help develop a plan to stretch the money throughout the semester. One of the best ways to develop a spending plan is to track expenses during the first few weeks of school. After the first month, review where and how money was spent.
- Remind your child about the difference between wants and needs. Help them prioritize spending based on “needs,” such as tuition, room, board, books before spending money on “wants.”
For information about how to make the most of your financial resources, make plans to attend “Money Sense for Women” from 8:15 a.m. – 1 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Christian County Extension Office, 2850 Pembroke Road. This seminar is designed to help women learn how to take control of their money. Sessions include “4+3+4=48 Mix & Match Your Wardrobe,” “Decorating on a Dime”, and “Skip the Bling; Save the Bucks.” Nikita Barbee and Antoinette Mayes will be the opening speakers. There will also be two makeovers given that day. Lunch will be served. There is no charge for the seminar. For more information or to register call 270-886-6328 or email email@example.com
MARSHA O. PARKER is the Christian County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 270-886-6328.