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The Best Money Management Tips for College Students and Recent Grads

Education budgetHow is it possible we can go through four years of advanced education and still have no idea how to manage money? But it happens all the time. Whether you’re a brand-new freshman living away from Mom and Dad for the first time, or you’ve earned your degree and are ready to take the world by storm, everybody can benefit from learning how to manage their finances.

Get Organized

In “40 Money Management Tips Every College Freshmen Should Know,” ScholarShop and the National Endowment for Financial Education suggests students purchase a locking file box and a bunch of file folders. Label the folders with different categories and then get to it—got outstanding bills to pay? Stick them in a folder marked “bill payments.” Since credit scores often hinge on bills being paid in a timely manner, it’s crucial you stay on top of this important responsibility.

Label other folders with topics like this:

  • Financial aid—For info on any scholarship amounts, award letters and other pertinent information
  • Tax-related paperwork—Perfect for storing W2s and other tax information
  • Loan and credit records—For anything and everything to do with student loans, car loans and credit cards

Set aside a couple of hours now to get a system, and then use it. This will pay off big time.

Credit Ratings

Now is the time to establish good credit and develop habits that keep your credit score as high as possible. College students or graduates who need a car may not qualify for a loan if their FICO score is too low. There’s a Toyota dealership in Dallas that offers rebates on new cars to college grads, and applicants with high credit scores stand a better chance at approval than someone with a low score.

Take a Second Look Once You Graduate

As points out, pay special attention to anything having to do with student loans once you graduate. Some graduates may have as many as a dozen loans to keep track of. Maintain a list of all of your loans, including loan numbers, balance and due dates. This will help you keep everything straight and ensure payments are made in a timely manner.

Once everything is organized, come up with a rock-solid plan on how you will cover your payments. Forbes points out that many borrowers miss their very first payment, often because they are short on funds. Since it is imperative to keep up with college loan bills, graduates should put each due date on their calendar, and plan on sending off payment about a week ahead of time. Money can be in short supply for many college students and recent graduates, but with some pre-planning and organizing, you can save yourself a lot of future trouble.

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