I wouldn't trade my college experience for anything. But I do wish I had handled my finances better.
Here are four tips I wish somebody had shared with me when I was a college student.
- Never carry a balance on a credit card. Never charge more on a credit card than you can pay off that month. While getting and using a credit card wisely can help you build a credit history, using it poorly can create a history you’ll want to forget. A secured credit card might help you here.
- Keep money in the bank. No matter where it comes from — as long as it’s legal — money in the bank is your friend. Be kind to it and keep it around. Otherwise, you’re going to end up in debt every time something unexpected comes your way.
- Limit student loans. You may be presented with the opportunity to borrow more money than you actually need to go to college each semester. Do yourself a favor and politely refuse. Why? Because the less you borrow now, the less you have to pay back later. Only take what you need.
- Work if you can. It looks good on your resume. It helps you develop some "real world" balancing skills. And it gives you cash to help with the first two tips.
A solid educational foundation should be your main goal in college, but coming out with a solid financial foundation is pretty important as well.
USAA’s College Page has additional information you might find helpful.
DID: 208347 - 0714
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