2021 Finance Tips

By Kailey Walters on May 24, 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.

No matter where you are in life, it’s important to take responsibility for your finances. Even though figuring out your finances can sound daunting at first, it won’t be a problem as long as you come up with a plan to help you pin down what you want to do with your money. Read on for a few tips on how to best manage your finances.

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Set up the right bank accounts.

If you don’t already have your bank accounts set up, there are a few main ones you should have: a checking account, a savings account, and an investment account. In particular, it’s important to have both a checking and savings account so that you can easily distinguish between your spending cash and your long-term savings cash.

Come up with a budget.

It’s essential to create a budget for yourself so that you know exactly where your money is going and how much you’re spending on a weekly or monthly basis. Setting up and maintaining a budget will help you decide whether to spend or save. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be super complicated. There are tools you can use, such as budgeting apps or even simply an Excel sheet or Word document, to help keep track of your weekly or monthly expenses and your income.

Budgeting can also help you figure out where you can cut down on some things that you’re spending too much on, such as a subscription that you’ve forgotten about or something you don’t really need. Even if it seems like a very small expense (e.g., a $4 coffee twice a week), it can add up to a lot over the course of a month and especially over a year — which means that cutting it out will have a pretty big impact on your budget. Overall, it’s important to remember that budgeting isn’t necessarily about restricting your money or your spending; instead, it’s more about being intentional with your spending. That’s why part of coming up with a budget involves setting goals for yourself and what you do with your money. If you have a solid idea of where you want to be financially, sticking to a budget will be that much easier and more clear-cut.

Reevaluate your finances.

While you probably don’t need to do a complete overhaul of all your finances, it’s a good idea to reevaluate at least some aspects of your finances. For example, you can start an emergency fund if you haven’t already by saving up a little bit of money and putting it aside for emergencies; the recommended amount to save is three to six months of expenses. You can also look into investing, whether in the stock market or a Roth IRA, to help build up your finances for the long term. Investing over a long time period can lead to some great returns, as you can grow your money slowly by investing more each year. If you don’t know much about investing, you can find out more by taking free courses or searching for informative resources online.

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Avoid debt as much as possible.

Even though student loans often seem like a necessary evil, there are ways to mitigate their effects on your finances. You can attempt to avoid student loan debt by borrowing money from your parents or getting a job to help pay for the expenses outright. However, in cases where this is not possible, you can still try to find a loan with the lowest interest possible. You can use comparison engines to find the best option for student loans or to refinance your student loans.

Check your credit every year.

To improve your finances, you should make sure to check your credit score every year. Doing so can help give you peace of mind in knowing that your credit score is in good standing. After all, your credit score will become incredibly important once you finish college, as it will be used by landlords, cell phone companies, and banks, for example, to determine whether you are in good enough financial standing to rent an apartment or have a credit card issued to you. As a result, you should make it a priority to improve your credit score as much as possible — which may involve paying off any debt, paying all your bills on time, keeping the balance low on your credit cards, and disputing any errors that appear on your credit reports.

While taking care of your finances can seem overwhelming at first, it will seem much more manageable when you come up with a strategy to handle all aspects of your finances. Doing so now will save you a lot of trouble in the future, and you’ll thank your past self for being so diligent about your finances.

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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