Managing Finances in College

How do you implement money management when you are in college? Tuition and books are large college expenses that will hopefully be covered by scholarship dollars.

But you have other college expenses, and will need additional money to pay for them. So do you contact a professional financial planner? Keep a wad of money in a glass jar? Store your life savings under the mattress?

A checking account is the simplest and safest way to go. You can check your balance online anytime, set up recurring transfers, and even pay bills online. Many banks now have a mobile app, so it has never been easier to monitor your account activity from your smartphone or tablet. There are several other perks to keeping your money in a secure checking account as well. If you have a part-time job and your employer offers direct deposit, you will have faster access to your cash. Many banks also offer overdraft protection services and may assist you if your debit card is ever lost or stolen. (If your glass jar full of cash gets stolen, there isn’t much you can do about it!) A well-maintained checking account can also help you establish credit, help you keep track of expenses, and help you establish a budget.

If you have a sum of money from a job or a gift, consider investing it. This probably isn’t the time to start trading your money on the stock market or risk your life savings in Las Vegas; you just might need that cash in the near future! Instead, you may want to consider safe (slow growth) investments such as a bank Certificate of Deposit or a mutual fund. High-risk investments are probably not a good idea, unless you have a lot of money that you can afford to lose.

As you know, college and graduate school can cost a lot, so it’s best to be conservative with your money and manage it wisely each and every day.


For more information about managing your money, return to the Financial Planning section. To find customized scholarships that you can apply for today, sign up or login to the time-saving scholarship search service. It's fast, easy and completely free.