Starting your college career is an exciting milestone, but it’s also one you need to take seriously. More specifically, it’s very important that you prioritize building financial security. The money you need to spend to attend college isn’t easy to manage at times. The debt you owe combined with your other monthly expenses can eat away at your savings, which can make budgeting very difficult. In this article, we’ll be covering how college freshmen can build up their financial security.
Set Financial Goals For Yourself
Being financially secure can prevent problems down the road. However, you don’t want to feel like you’re saving just because you feel you must. You need to have something to strive for as well. This is why you should start coming up with financial goals you can work towards. You can set short-term or long-term goals. Short-term goals are typically accomplished within a year while long-term goals usually take more than one year. For a short-term goal, it can be creating an emergency fund with at least $1,000 worth of savings within a few months. A long-term goal can be buying a house or preparing your future child for college.
Obtain Your First Credit Card
Whenever financial security is brought up, credit cards are usually the first thing that comes to mind. Credit cards are issued by banks and bureaus to give people an external amount of money they can use to pay for what they need. First-time college students have an advantage when applying for their first credit card. Most student credit cards come with benefits such as receiving a bonus for maintaining good grades and cash-back reward programs.
However, credit cards don’t contain unlimited money; there’s also a limit on how much you can spend on the card. Yes, you can use them as an external payment method. But you must pay back what you spend, which is why you should never max them out. Taking out a credit card is a big responsibility, so if you’re ready to manage your own budget, then this might be the right decision. Be sure to review a guide that goes over all you need to know about applying for a student’s credit card.
Get a Part-Time Job
Even if you’ve never work before, now’s the perfect time to get a part-time job. Earning your paycheck gives you the financial freedom you crave, and it also helps you build the financial independence you need. If you attend classes on campus, you can look for a job at the bookstore, cafeteria, or as an administrative assistant. You can also look for positions off-campus as well. Most coffee shops and retail stores offer flexible hours, which makes it easier for you to create a comprehensive schedule.
Automate Your Payments
Paying off bills is one of the most stressful tasks you’ll ever have. It used to be we had to call each company to make a payment. These days, however, dealing with financial stress is easier since you can set up automatic payments that deduct exactly how much the bill is worth. You won’t worry about making double payments or being short a few dollars.