11 Financial Tips You Need to Know for College
This post is full of Financial Tips You Need to Know for College!
College is a great place to grow and learn, and to discover what you want to do with your life. It is an experience that helps us on our path of self discovery.
I don’t know about you, but the cost of college was something I worried about IMMENSELY. It requires a ton of money, and a great majority of people do not have that money. So, they borrow from people who do. It sucks, but that’s the cost of earning a degree.
There are definitely more need-to-know about college in general, but I wanted to start with finances. I know this is a topic that a lot of college students who are struggling financially, worry about. Oftentimes, people will take a gap year, quit college or not go to college at all due to the cost.
WITH THAT SAID, HERE ARE: 11 FINANCIAL TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A COLLEGE STUDENT!
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Table of Contents
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1st Financial tip:
COLLEGE IS EXPENSIVE!
This is very obvious, but unless you are paying for your own expenses, I do not think you truly know how expensive college is. Understanding the value of money means personally experiencing the amount of hard work it requires to earn that money. Especially thousands upon thousands of dollars! Which is how much you will be spending for college. Loans or out of pocket.
Once you finally come to the realization that it will take yeeeaarrss to pay off your school loans or pay for college out-of-pocket, then you will know just how valuable education is. Not just from all the money you invested into it, but also the knowledge you gain and degree you earn.
You did it on your own!
2nd Financial tip:
APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!
Don’t only apply to scholarships that your school offers, apply to other organizations! Apply within your area, around your university area, other states etc.
There are hundreds of organizations that offer scholarships and they do not require a lot of work either. Some just randomly draw from a list, while others may require professional references and personal essays.
Do your research and apply to as many as you can! You will be surprised by the amount of investors, companies, and organizations offering them.
- If they request money from you in exchange for applying to the scholarship, DO NOT APPLY! No real scholarship applications will request for money.
- Here’s one amazing source you can use to search for scholarships: Career One Stop Scholarship Finder
3rd financial tip:
GET A JOB!
Personally, working and going to school made me appreciate my parents a lot more. They have worked hard, sacrificed their time, energy and money, for the sake of my–and my siblings–future. They helped me to be more grateful for the time I do have to focus on myself, my education, and life aspirations.
Favorite Site to Find Jobs: https://www.indeed.com/. I literally got all–except one–of my jobs from Indeed. Upload a professional resume and apply! Even if you don’t get the jobs you applied for, there may be some companies that will review your Indeed portfolio and reach out to you to apply for their job.
4th Financial Tip:
If you are working, create a budget to invest into your 401k, stocks, dividend stocks, crypto, Roth IRA, or Forex etc. If you don’t have much expenses to pay for, invest and make your money work for you!
My dad has always emphasized to me and my siblings: Beat the system by making your hard earned money work for you.
Do your research before investing in anything! Here are a couple of my favorite investing platforms that I personally use:
- ROBINHOOD: This is my favorite stock platform to invest on. It is beginner friendly and does not require having to watch my stocks all the time. I am not a day trader, but I have done option trading a few times, and Robinhood provides definitions and step-by-step guides to help you to invest your money wisely. For the most part, I invest in high dividend stocks since I honestly do not want to spend a lot of my time trading.
- Sign up for Robinhood by using my robinhood share link. We will both get a free stock when you join using the link!
- CRYPTO.COM: This is by far my favorite investing platform overall. I do not trade on it, but users do have the option to trade by setting up targets to sell or buy at a certain price (similar to Robinhood). Me, I simply hold my investments and earn interest when I stake my coins. You can earn up to 6% p.a.+ in the currency you stake. It is like putting your money in certificates from your bank to gain a higher interest, but you earn waaaay more.
- Sign up for Crypto.com on your mobile app using my crypto share link. We will both earn $25 USD in CRO when you stake for a ruby card or above!
- TIP: If you stake in USDT you can earn up to 6% PA. For example: Stake ($100,000 * 6%) /12 = $500 per month in USDT. USDT is the digital coin version of USD. Meaning, USDT will always equate to $1.
5th Financial Tip:
START PAYING OFF YOUR COLLEGE LOANS!
If you intend on paying for your loans during college, pay off a little more than the accrued interest. I keep track of my student loans in google sheets.
- In one column put the initial loan amount, in the column next to it put the interest rate, then in the next column calculate your accrued interest. To get the monthly cost, use this formula: (loan amount x interest rate)/12. Here is an example of how to calculate it on google sheets.
- There are also calculators online that can calculate the monthly cost and the finance charge (the total amount of interest you will pay on the loan) for you. Here is a great calculator you can use: https://www.bankrate.com/loans/student-loans/student-loan-calculator/
6th Financial Tip:
CALCULATE THE MONTHLY ACCRUED INTEREST FOR YOUR LOANS!
If you have a job and you don’t have a lot of bills to pay for, start paying off your college loans.
Some of you might be thinking “I will start paying for it after college.” Well, you can, but by the time you graduate, you most likely will be paying off thousands of dollars MORE than the initial loan amount. That is because college loans accrue interest as soon as the loans disburse. The only exception are subsidized loans.
I have yet to hear about a private lender that defers interest on student loans until graduation. I do know that it is possible to defer student loan monthly payments under certain circumstances, BUT interest still accumulates. Every lender is different.
- You can learn more about subsidized and unsubsidized loans here: https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized
- You can also learn more about deferment here: https://www.salliemae.com/student-loans/manage-your-private-student-loan/get-help-with-special-circumstance/deferring-payments-for-school-internships/
7th Financial Tip:
AVOID PRIVATE LENDERS!
For a very good reason: Their interest rates are higher than federal loans and if your parents have to co-sign, it will affect their credit score AND eligibility to apply for other loans.
If you HAVE to apply for private loans:
- PAY OFF more than the minimum requested amount
- ALWAYS pay for the loan on time by setting up an automatic payment
- REFINANCE it under your name alone.
8th Financial Tip:
DO NOT BE LATE ON YOUR LOAN’S MINIMUM MONTHLY PAYMENTS!
If you do not pay for your minimum monthly payments on time, the likelihood of refinancing under your OWN name and removing your co-signers name is slim to none. After two years (give or take, depending on the lender) of proving you are responsible enough to pay for your loan on your own, then you can remove your co-signer.
Your co-signer will become responsible for paying your student loan FOR you if you are late. That will also look bad on your part as the primary signer. It can affect your eligibility to apply for future loans AND it will affect your credit score.
9th Financial Tip:
IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE!
Why? Building your credit score in college, while you don’t have big expenses to pay for, will help you in the long run! Your chances of qualifying for a lower interest rate on a loan for a house, car, personal, or school etc will be greater.
- Pay your current loans on time, NEVER BE LATE on the payments.
- Get a credit card, yes you read that correctly, get a credit card. Do your best to use it ONLY if you have the money to pay it off within a month. Paying it off monthly will, slowly but surely, increase your credit score.
- Do not use more than 30% of your credit limit.
Read this article for more ways to improve your score: https://www.investopedia.com/how-to-improve-your-credit-score-4590097
10th Financial Tip:
KEEP TRACK OF ALL YOUR COLLEGE EXPENSES!
This includes all but not limited to: scholarships you received, school loans, books, materials, miles if you are driving to and from school, travel expenses (gas, train, bus, uber etc) to and from school, clothes required for a class or internship. Just keep track of all your expenses toward college.
You will need all of the above for your taxes. Providing this information can decrease the amount of money you owe at the end of the year, or increase the amount of money you receive.
11th Financial Tip:
RESEARCH WAYS TO EARN MONEY ONLINE!
If you are like me and you can only sacrifice a block of time to work–making it difficult to find a part-time job–find ways to earn money online!
There are a variety of ways to earn money to pay for your school and other expenses you may have. Some that I have personally done or simply researched on are: kindle direct publishing, dropshipping, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, amazon ACX (audiobook creation exchange), freelance work and much more.
You can also earn Google Certificates and Coursera Certificates to add to your qualifications! Their certificates are legit and will help you land a job. You can also apply for financial aid, and if you qualify, you will be able to earn your certificate for free!
I am currently earning my Google certification in Digital Marketing and E-Commerce!
If you have made it to the end, comment on what you want to learn more on and if you are interested in a part 2! If you have any topics to suggest, contact me.
I have learned all of these the HARD way, which is why I wanted to share it all so that you are not in the dark like I was. It is better to be knowledgeable than naive. 🙂