College or university marks a new chapter in life for both parents and children. However, for many post-secondary students, a new school year may mean racking up debt. Some students may start school with a strict budget in place and stick to it, while others may underestimate how quickly their expenses add up. However, no matter how responsible your child may appear, it’s valuable to emphasize the importance of financial responsibility.
Many millennials are more debt-averse than older generations, but that doesn’t mean they’re not using credit cards. After the cost of essentials like tuition, books, and back to school supplies, it’s easy to depend on credit when you’re ‘cash poor’. Parents will often tell their kids credit cards are for emergencies only, but that doesn’t stop them from using credit for any and everything. Be sure to remind them that debit cards are a good way to minimize debt. You can also advise them to avoid any salespeople promoting credit cards in the cafeteria.
Applying for scholarships and grants provides excellent opportunities for students when it comes to paying their way through college. Students often forget that they can continue to apply for scholarships after they’ve been accepted into college or university. MoneyKey’s $2,500 Key Thinkers Scholarship, for example, is awarded quarterly to a student who demonstrates academic achievement and completes an essay about how they are a voice in the growing conversation about financial responsibility.
Have you ever looked at the breakdown on a tuition statement? Chances are there’s at least a few fees or contributions you’re paying for that you’ve never heard of. ‘Student Life’ fee? Make sure you tell your kid to live. All jokes aside, it’s important to remind your child-turned-adult to take advantage of the amenities and benefits that come with paying tuition. Go to the gym, join a club, take all the showers and use all the Wi-Fi they can. 80% dental coverage? Remind them of the importance of dental hygiene. There is no point in wasting benefits that they’ve already paid for.
Tell them to keep their student I.D. on them at all times. Whether it’s retailers, restaurants or public transportation, students are often eligible for generous discounts even if they’re not advertised. Discounts apply to bank accounts as well. Make sure they head over to the bank and switch to a student account if they haven’t already, to dodge annoying monthly fees.
A part-time job is another way to pay for expenses while at school. While it is important to remain focused on studies, a part-time job is often helpful for some and necessary for others. Whether they are waiting tables at a local restaurant or working in the campus bookstore, a paycheck, no matter how big or small, will likely be welcome. Having work experience may help them to get a better paying job in the future.
While the first step to saving money in college is budgeting, using the tips mentioned in this post can help your student save money and build a solid foundation to become a financially responsible adult.