Financial Management for College Freshmen

College freshmen face a whole new world when they go off to school, and that often includes being in charge of managing their own finances for the first time. For families, it’s important to make a plan for how freshmen will manage their money at school, from whose names will be on the checking account to how much spending money students will have. This advice will help families get through freshmen year without financial hiccups.

Know What Is Coming In and Going Out

Start by tallying up how much money is going to be coming in each semester and how much as to go out. After tuition is paid, how much will be left over from grants and loans? Will the student have a job, and if so, how much is he or she likely to earn? Next, add up fixed expenses, like cellphone bills, and estimates for things like entertainment and grocery shopping. This will give you a good idea of where you stand, and how much wiggle room there is in the budget.

Be Ready to Be Flexible

It’s difficult to anticipate exactly what expenses will be at college, so be ready to be flexible with the budget. It’s also very common for freshmen to make some financial missteps. These are great opportunities for leaning, so if a checking account gets overdrawn or a bill gets overlooked, use it as a lesson.

Break Up Money into Small Chunks

For parents of freshmen, it’s better to dole out a small amount of money each week or month than give kids a set amount for the semester in one lump. For freshmen, learning to budget this small amount of money and making it stretch is a good way to develop the skills necessary for managing larger amounts.

At GCS Credit Union, we have a number of different savings and checking accounts designed for young credit union members to help them learn financial responsibility. Talk to one of our representatives about how our credit union in O’Fallon can help your freshman by calling (618) 797-7993.

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