As a college student, you’re undoubtedly active online, using networks and social media platforms to learn new things, make plans with friends, and stay in touch with people from your hometown. But did you know that approaching your finances similar to how you navigate a few popular online networks could lead to good money management habits?
Watch our video to learn about what the rules of navigating these online networks have in common with managing your finances successfully.
Follow a Budget
Pinning ideas and future goals to a vision board is a great start, but you actually have to follow through with your plans to make things happen. After creating your budget, commit to following it closely to see the advantages of having a financial plan. Budgeting is essentially ensuring the amount of money you have going out does not exceed the amount coming in.
When you’re getting ready to graduate and looking for your first job, remember that part of the process entails gauging its salary and making sure it’ll cover your expenses, some of which you may not have had in college. These could include:
- Car payment
- Utility payments
- Health insurance
Save Your Hard-earned Dollars
Just as you need to make the most out of every limited character when composing a tweet, you should try to make the most out of what you earn – every penny counts! Some college students and recent graduates think retirement is too far away to start putting money into a 401(k). Others believe their postgrad starting salaries are too small, with no room for funneling some toward savings.
However, the truth is there’s no minimum amount when it comes to saving. Even a few dollars put away every month adds up over time.
Think Before You Buy
When it comes to money, don’t make snap decisions. After you get your first job, it’ll probably feel great to have money in your pockets after getting through college on a limited income. Keep in mind, though, that just because you have the money doesn’t mean you need to spend it. Too many college students and recent grads blow their funds on unnecessary items, such as lavish new cars or expensive gaming systems.
Institute a 48-hour rule on all purchases. Wait 48 hours from the moment you feel the desire to buy until you go back to the store. Often during that time, you’ll find you merely had an impulse, not an actual need, to purchase the item.
Find Financial Resources
Online videos can be valuable learning resources. Whether you’re trying to tile your bathroom shower, pull off a new makeup trend, or score an interview, there are videos that highlight how-to’s, tricks, and tips for just about anything, including finances. Find free, reputable online resources that help you create a budget, manage your money, and learn about investment options to help make your wallet work for you.
Begin Building a Strong Financial Reputation
While you may use a networking site to showcase your professional reputation, establishing good credit is the path to building a solid financial track record. Do you pay off your credit card balance regularly? If not, it’s time to start doing it now. Creditors may review your payment history, amount owed, and length of credit history to help determine their risk in lending you money for future purchases, such as a car or home.
You want a solid credit history that proves you’re a responsible borrower. Most college students have little to no credit history, but proactively working toward establishing good credit will help you prepare for a bright financial future.
Look at the Big Picture
Amid photos that capture memories, adventures, and those you share them with, don’t forget the big picture, which includes your finances. Most graduates have student loans that need to be repaid after college. Before you graduate, determine what you owe and how you’ll budget to pay your monthly student loan bill on time. Don’t lose sight of the big picture and remember to take your post-grad plans into account – this will give you a realistic look at what you need to do to work toward a successful financial future.
Keep Your Account Safe
Privacy settings aren’t just for your social media accounts. Remember to take financial account security seriously. Use account alerts and other features such as card lock/unlock to safeguard against identity theft and fraud. You can also use PSECU’s free credit score service* to stay on top of your credit history. If any account activity causes you to question the security of your account or personally identifiable information, take action and contact your financial institution immediately.
Learn to Manage Your Money Wisely
Using the notion of online network functionality as a guide, you can learn to make financial decisions that will help you now and after you graduate. Find more money management tips on our WalletWorks page.
* PSECU is not a credit reporting agency. Members must have PSECU checking or a PSECU loan to be eligible for this service. Joint owners are not eligible.