Money Managing Tips for Undergraduates
You're in college and money is tight. You want to make informed decisions about student loan borrowing, but financial aid can be complicated. Following tips to help you manage your student loans wisely.
Before borrowing, explore all options of gift aid possible, such as from family members, or from religious or civic affiliations. Work during summers, school breaks, or part time during school to keep borrowing down.
Stick with basic campus services; avoid expensive options for cable TV, telephone service and meal plans. If possible, use public transportation instead of having a car on campus. Many schools provide free, on-campus shuttle bus service; and you may be eligible for a student discount on public transportation.
Use e-mail instead of phone calls. Consider living at home and commuting, if that is an option.
Minimize credit card use, and make the required minimum monthly payment on time (better yet, pay balances off in full at the end of the month). Use credit cards only for emergencies, not for entertainment.
Be sure to attend entrance and exit counseling sessions at your college and save all handouts.
Keep a centralized record of the types and amounts of student loans you borrow and save all documents, such as promissory notes.
Research starting salaries for the occupations that you are considering. The career office at your school should have this information; and you can find national average salaries online at www.truecareers.com.
Calculate what your monthly student loan payment will be, based on different levels of borrowing and repayment plans. Determine a level of total borrowing that will keep your monthly student loan payment at or below 12% of your monthly net salary and keep to that level.
- Make your payments on time once you are in repayment.
- Maintain good credit in college to ensure future borrowing ability, such as for a car or home, or for continuing in graduate school.
- Keep a simple lifestyle.
- Consider an area's cost of living when you relocate after graduation.
- Borrow when you can not go without it.
- To learn about establishing and maintaining a positive credit history, visit EquifaxTM.