Tips for Living on Your Own at College
Regardless of whether you live in a dorm, apartment, or at home while you attend college, the picture has changed considerably. When you become a college student, you’re on your own. Mom and dad are not in charge of your life anymore, which means you can do whatever you want. Just remember…with great power comes great responsibility!
If you haven’t already, now is the time to learn proper money management skills and establish good financial habits. When it comes to paying bills, you need to pay them on time. Car payments, credit cards, loan payments, rent, gas cards…keep track of your due dates and try to pay a few days prior, so that your payments have plenty of time to process. In fact, you don’t have to wait until your due date approaches to make a payment; you can pay down your debt faster if you are able to make multiple payments throughout the month. If you make college tuition payments, it is also important to do so before the due date. If you do not pay your tuition by the due date, you may be charged a late fee, and failure to pay an outstanding balance may result in your account being sent to a collection agency. This can negatively affect your credit, so get in the habit of closely monitoring all payment due dates now.
It’s always awkward to borrow money from friends, but if you do, do your best to repay them promptly. Not only is it the right thing to do, it also helps to establish good borrowing habits.
Being on your own also means being disciplined about saving money. College years are a difficult time for saving, but it is invaluable for your future. If possible, determine a certain percentage of money you will save from every paycheck and bank it. Consider low-risk investment options, such as CDs or mutual funds. Also, try to be a savvy consumer. No matter what you purchase (groceries, electronics, or automobiles), be careful how you spend your money. Pay attention to prices and sales. Always try to get the best value for your money.
Remember, as any adult will tell you, being a grown-up is as much about responsibility as it is about freedom. Be responsible and establish strong money management skills early in life.