College is a pivotal time for many young adults. For many, it is the first time they are expected to manage their own finances. Some have had their parents teach them the valuable lesson of earning and saving money, while others will encounter issues that could prove costly. So if college is right around the corner for you, it’s probably a good time to look into what you will need and what can wait.The following is a breakdown of your college expenses and solutions to avoid getting into financial trouble.
Understanding what you are spending your money on in the first place is a great place to start. Some universities will charge a comprehensive fee which includes your tuition, fees, as well as room and board. Others will break down your college expenses into the following categories:
- Tuition and Fees
Keep in mind that your tuition and fees may vary depending on how many credit hours you are taking, as well as your specific academic program. Your fees will also depend on the specific classes you are taking.
- Books and Supplies
Did you know that you can save money on your books and supplies by purchasing used books online? Since books and supplies can cost the average student $1,200 annually, this savings can truly help you stretch your budget.
- Room and Board
Whether you are living in the dorm rooms on campus or you are renting an apartment off campus, make sure that you have the funds set aside for all of your living expenses. This includes utilities, electricity, and gas as well.
Transportation expenses may include gas, trains, shuttles, as well as car insurance, car payments or any other additional fees.
- Personal Expenses
Food and entertainment can really add up during your college years; however, it is an important part of being involved in the full college experience.
Student Debit Card
Although you may receive hoards of student credit card applications in the mail offering you a way to pay your expenses with minimal interest, financial experts agree that getting a credit card at a young and impressionable age is not always the best idea. It is so easy for a new college student to quickly fill a credit card with charges that may take years to pay off. Instead, a Spendsmartcard prepaid debit card might work best for students. They offer many advantages over traditional credit cards, including:
- You can use prepaid cards anywhere traditional credit cards are accepted.
- Parents, friends, or other family members can easily put money on your prepaid card, helping you out with your school expenses.
- You can download an application that allows you to access vital information, such as the balance of your card, from the convenience of your smartphone.
- Prepaid cards do not accrue interest, require you to make monthly payments, or affect your credit score.
Parents realize the importance that a college education has on their child’s future. Many proactive parents begin a prepaid student card years before their child graduates from high school. When the time finally comes to send them off, they will have enough money to get them started on their ventures. Minimize your student loans, and simplify college life by signing up for a prepaid debit card.
James White is a financial consultant who likes to write on subjects where life meets money.