Financial Independence 101: A Primer for College Students

College is an exciting, but stressful time. Whether you stayed close to home or ventured across the country, learning how to manage your finances is likely something you're still figuring out. Putting your finances in order now can put you in a better position when you graduate. Try the following tips to save money, and make the most of your college experience.

How to Manage Money as a College Student

1. Create a budget

Determine all of your monthly expenses, and track your spending. Once you know how much money you spend, create a monthly budget. Check your budget throughout the month to ensure you're not spending more than you're saving.

2. Get a part-time job

Increase your cash flow by getting a part-time job. This can help offset some of your expenses, and give you extra room in your budget. Finding a job right on campus can also help with transportation costs.

3. Use credit cards carefully

Credit cards can seem like an easy way to make a quick payment, but if you charge more to your card than you can afford you will have a hard time paying your monthly credit card bill. Use your credit card strategically and pay off your bill in a timely manner to help your credit score. When you decide to get your own apartment or buy a car, a good credit score can go a long way.

4. Limit dining out

Put those dining dollars to good use. Eat at on-campus dining halls or go to the grocery store and purchase items to make on your own. Making the change from dining out to dining in can significantly help you decrease your monthly spending and stick to your budget.

5. Utilize coupons and specials

Want to grab a bite to eat on a Friday night or visit a local attraction? Look online and on Groupon or LivingSocial to find deals that can help you save. Some restaurants offer weekly specials that happen on certain days of the week – find what you like and pick a day to try it!

6. Sell unwanted items

Do you have a game console you never use or clothes you are constantly leaving in your closet? Try selling them online. With eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and more, there are several places to sell things you no longer want. Look online for places that will give you money for some of your clothes – whether they have the tags on or not.

7. Set aside money

Save money for the future – you'll never know when you're going to need (or want!) it. Saving just a little bit of money each month will add up and help you reach your financial goals.

If you are a student attending college within the North Country Savings Bank community, open a free student checking account to help manage your money. Also, utilize our free online banking and mobile app to easily keep track of your account balances.

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