Financial Tips for New College Students

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Financial Tips for New College Students

You’ve finally made it. You’re a college freshman out on your own living the dream - making new friends, tailgating, sleeping until noon. But, in-between game days, there’s far more to learn than English Composition and Microbiology. One of the most important extracurricular subjects you must learn is how to manage your money.

The tips below will help you keep your budget in balance and make sure you've got plenty of extra money to spend on pre-game food and fun.

Create a realistic budget.
Your budget needs to include living expenses (i.e., rent, utilities, gasoline), food, and entertainment. It must be something you can live with — and stick to.

Establish financial limits.
Give yourself a little wiggle room in your budget for fun: things like eating out, new technology or a too-good-to-pass-up weekend road trip. It’s important to have some flexibility in your budget – with limits.

Live economically.
Learn how to take advantage of things like student discounts, buying used books, or shopping for second-hand clothing and furniture. The less you spend on necessities, the more you have left over for the college experience.

Look for job opportunities.
Not only does having a job help expand your limited budget, but it also teaches you the value of budgeting your time between work, class, studies and fun. Perhaps an internship in your field of study could allow you to gain valuable experience while earning extra money. The lessons you learn will carry over into your life beyond college as well.

Be tech-savvy.
There are all kinds of apps you can download to your phone to help you manage your money more wisely. In addition to apps, you can make frequent use of mobile and online banking to help keep you on top of your bank balance.

Automate savings.
There are few habits more essential to develop than a habit of saving money. There are many ways you can automate your savings so that when emergencies arise, you have a cushion to help soften the blow.
Learn more about setting up an automatic savings within BancorpSouth's Online Banking.

Cook and eat at home.
Whether you are in a dorm or apartment, there are a variety of meals you can prepare for yourself that will cost much less than dining out. Not only do they save you money on the meals, but dining in will also save you money on gas and time driving to restaurants.

Following these tips might not make you wealthy beyond your imagination, but they will help you learn to live within your modest means as a college student while preparing you for life after college.