Common money mistakes college freshmen make
Not using student services, failing classes some common mistakes
College is filled with many challenges and one of the biggest is how to moderate spending without parents.
College freshmen are at risk of making several common financial mistakes. Here are some of the most common.
Not having a reasonable budget
Establishing a reasonable budget may be difficult at first, but after the first few months, students should have an idea of how much they can spend without going overboard.
Even then, students often underestimate the actual cost of living independently. Students are advised to list immediate needs, sources of income and pay bills before going out with friends.
You can supplant these costs by getting a minimum wage job, but students are advised to seek out on-campus jobs or jobs that allow flexibility first.
Here are some more common spending mistakes:
- Buying the latest technology when an older version could be fine for classes.
- Purchasing textbooks from the college bookstore when many editions are available online or at used bookstores.
- Not keeping textbooks in good shape to sell them at the end of the semester.
- Not using your student ID for deals in and around campus.
- Not using free student services on campus such as fitness centers, health centers, financial aid and legal centers.
- Paying for entertainment when colleges have free events around campus that include sporting events, concerts or exhibits.
Getting a credit card and using it as free money
Many students will already end up with a large debt because of student loans and adding credit card debt can lead to more financial trouble if they are not responsible.
Starter credit cards tend to have higher interest rates and students are advised not to use cards to fill in gaps after they have splurged on something else.
Getting a credit card is not a bad idea and can help build credit, but it should not be used as free money.
Missing out on financial aid, no longer looking for scholarships
High school juniors and seniors regularly seek out scholarships, but they often stop looking and applying once they enter college.
There are still hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of scholarships that are targeted towards students who are currently in college.
Freshmen are advised to seek out the their financial aid office to figure out how to apply for scholarships that their college gives out or scholarships online.
College is expected to be an exciting time, but spending too much time attending social events can lead many freshmen to fail their courses.
Failing a class essentially amounts to wasted money and spending more in the long run if you have to retake the class.
It’s important for students to be aware how much individual classes cost. Schoolwork should be the No. 1 priority over any social activity.
Choosing a school for the wrong reasons
Graduating from high school gives students the opportunity to begin a new journey, but with the cost of college skyrocketing, sometimes the smartest financial decision is to begin taking classes at home or at a local community college.
If a student does leave home for college, also be aware of what it will cost to make a trip back home and how often you plan to return.
Students applying for college should also weight the pros and cons of a state school versus a private university.
Earning a degree many times is generally more important than the name of the school you attended.
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