by Jaynee Sasso
The college lifestyle consists of furthering your education and learning to survive off less in hopes that the sacrifices you make today will lead to greater success tomorrow. Going off to college can be a time full of excitement but also a time of great stress because of the financial challenges that lie ahead. The realization of success after college graduation is often sabotaged by the poor choices made throughout an individual’s college experience. During the first years of an individual’s college experience, she will heavily depend on her parents to subsidize living expenses. However, this is a great time for parents to cut the apron strings and teach their children how to position themselves for success by respecting the boundaries of living within a budget. Before students return to school, both parent and child should sit down together and develop a realistic budget that includes a comprehensive list of the anticipated expenses for the upcoming school year. Parents must stand their ground and be very clear about how much they are willing to contribute to offset the student’s living expenses. Here are a few ways for the college-bound student to take the initial steps of developing financial independence:
(1) Open a bank account. This will not only help to establish your financial identity but also allow you to exercise your basic money management skills including balancing a checking account, saving money, tracking expenses, etc.
(2) Establish a budget. An effective budget requires that you do more than write down a laundry list of expenses and subtract them from your income. A budget should be used as a strategic road map to help you reach your goals. Every month you should establish a goal such as saving specific dollar amount or setting aside money to pay for tuition and books. The next step is to adjust your spending habits to meet your goals.
(3) Keep miscellaneous spending within limits. This requires that you adhere to the boundaries that have been established by your budget. Learn how to plan for the things you want and enjoy doing instead of just living for the moment.
(4) Establish a positive credit history. Learn to use credit responsibly. Do not use credit as a way to supplement your income and do not borrow more than you can pay back in a reasonable amount of time. The consequences of making poor decisions will follow you beyond graduation day and can potentially delay the success that you have worked so hard to achieve.
Jaynee Sasso is a Speaker, Author and Financial Life Coach. For more info, visit www.FaithfulAssistants.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @CommonCentsWay.