Finance Tips For College Freshmen

By Danielle Wirsansky on April 23, 2021

This article is brought to you by GradGuard. We protect college students and their families from the financial risks of college life, like providing a refund for tuition or replacing a stolen backpack when your school may not. When the unexpected happens, GradGuard’s tuition insurance and renters insurance can help you get back on track.

College is an expensive endeavor. No matter whether you are an experienced and responsible handler of money or someone new to the responsibility of managing your own finances, handling your finances in college is a completely different ballpark from handling your own finances in high school. It can be easy to lose your head or make mistakes, but these mistakes can also be really impactful and make or break your college experience.

As a freshman, you need to be smart with your finances and try to avoid making mistakes where you can. This is obviously easier said than done. So read on for some finance tips specifically geared toward new college freshmen!

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Make a Budget & Follow it

The first step you should take is to create a budget. If you were already working off a budget in high school, you will be in a good spot to continue budgeting in college. Keep in mind however that your high school budget and your college budget will likely be completely different, however, as the scope of what you are now paying for has completely changed. In high school, you likely did not have to pay rent, for groceries, textbooks, and potentially utilities if you live off-campus.

If you are new to the world of budgeting, you will want to study up and be precise. You want to make sure you have included everything you might need to be paying for and budget accordingly. You do not want to miss any expense category and then end up going over budget and putting yourself in dire financial straits.

 However, the most important aspect of making a budget is then to follow it. The budget does nothing if you do not track your expenses and make sure you are sticking to it. You need to know how much you can spend eating out, how much you can afford to spend on sundries and clothing, and anything else you might want to do. Because when the month ends and you have to pay your rent, you want to make sure that you can—otherwise, you might be in a difficult situation.

You can always tweak and alter your budget and you can talk to parents or family members who are supporting you to help make sure you are financially covered.

 Watch Your Bank Account

The next tip is to watch your bank account. What does this mean? You need to be monitoring your charges and staying on top of your accounts. You have a main debit account, but what if you also have a credit card, or even two? It can be harder to juggle and track expenses across different accounts and you do not want anything to slip through the cracks.

So be sure to log into your banking website or app and physically look at your account. Make sure charge amounts are correct. Make sure that charges are real and not someone else charging your card. Make sure that you are aware of the amounts going in and out of your account.

One strategy is to check your account every morning when you wake up and to do a quick review. You can also update your banking settings to send you a daily email that shows you your balance, any deposits, any charges made to the card(s), and more. Check out what options your bank will allow for email settings to help you stay on top of your finances.

Invest in Gradguard

Another great financial tip is to invest in Gradguard. “Gradguard is a national, specialty insurance marketing platform that enables consumers to easily enroll and secure the next generation of insurance protection they need to overcome unexpected financial losses related to specific life-stages.”

One of those specific life-stages that they specialize in is college life. Gradguard can help protect students from loss or theft of personal property, damage to rental properties, and more. GradGuard helps reduce the cost of college and promotes greater student success by protecting students and their families from the many risks of college life, many of which cannot be planned for. More than 650,000 students and families have been protected by GradGuard’s insurance programs since 2009. Gradguard’s tuition and renters insurance programs are available to students enrolled in a network of more than 400 different colleges as well. 

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College is hard, managing your own life is hard, and managing your own finances is even hard. But if you follow these financial tips, they will help you be a boss in charge of your own finances and allow things from slipping between the cracks. It will safeguard you and your family from any financial missteps or mistakes and help turn your into a financially responsible and savvy adult, capable of navigating the real world.

It’s no secret that college costs a lot of money. Make sure your investment in higher education is protected with GradGuard. Our affordable tuition insurance and renters insurance plans are specifically designed for college students. Customizable plans make it easy to protect your tuition, room and board, laptop, bike, and so much more.

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