Top Tips for Protecting Your Money In College

By Aaron Swartz on February 26, 2023

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.

Dorm living has its ups and its downs. Being in a space with a bunch of students your age is a great way to socialize, meet people, and enjoy all that college has to offer. On the other hand, you have next to no privacy — between roommates and thin walls — which can present a problem you might not have had to deal with in your life so far: security. Communal spaces, roommates, and doors with locks that only sometimes work all mean that, suddenly, keeping your valuables safe is a lot harder. We know that the world is slowly shifting away from cash and that most college students aren’t keeping too much of it on them these days, but how exactly should you keep the money you do have safe? What can you do to protect your valuables? To help you solve this problem as best you can, here are our top tips for protecting your money in college.

via Pexels

1. Keep the Doors and Windows Locked

Not exactly a revolutionary tip when it comes to home security but it’s still important to note the basics. One of the best ways to make friends in a college dorm is just to keep your dorm open. People can be welcomed inside or might wave hello, and bam! Friendship. However, if you have stuff you need to stay safe or are more security-minded, keeping the door shut and locked may be the best call. Additionally, if you have a roommate or roommates (as most college students will at some time or other) then you’ll want to discuss keeping the door locked with them. While it might be convenient to leave the door open or unlocked, it isn’t worth sacrificing your safety in most cases. Communicate your desires to your roommate(s) and you should be one step safer when it comes to your belongings.

2. Keep Valuables Out of Sight

Again, common sense, but worth repeating. While we’re sure most of you have thought of this, leaving huge piles of cash out on your desk is a great way for said cash to go missing. Instead, keep your money hidden away, maybe in a drawer or your suitcase. Making it not readily apparent means any would-be thief will have to work to find your stash, making it all the more likely they’ll come up empty-handed.

3. Consider Investing in a Lockbox

Now we get to the more useful tips. Buying a safe or a lockbox is a great way for you to secure your belongings and make sure that a thief can’t get at them. You can easily find something that’ll fit your needs online, which should help protect your money from those who would covet it. Some models of safes made especially for dorms also have chains or ties so you can anchor the box to your bed frame or dresser; that way, a thief can’t simply pick up the whole box and break into it later. Just one more security measure that may make the difference between a successful robbery and a complete failure.

4. Consider Dorm Cameras

Now, this is more of a good idea if you live alone (and have some extra cash to burn), but dorm security cameras can be a great extra step toward securing your valuables. In the event someone does break into your room, you’ll have evidence of the theft that should help retrieve your belongings and track down the thief. This is definitely something that you shouldn’t do if you have a shared space though, everyone deserves privacy. But if you want to take that extra step to protect your goods, cameras might be a good option for you.

5. Take Valuables With You On Trips

A little bit of common sense, sure, but it can be easy to forget stuff in your dorm room if you’re gonna take a weekend trip or spend time away from campus — especially if you’ve taken our advice and invested in a lockbox. Leaving your money on campus unattended, though, is just asking for trouble. If you’re going to be away for a while, empty out your hiding place or your safe and take your valuables with you. That way there’s literally no chance of coming back to an empty room ransacked of all goods.

6. Don’t Lend Keys

If you’ve got roommates or friends and you want someone to grab something from your room for you, you might pass them your key and have them let themselves in. If you’ve got valuables stashed in your room, however, this isn’t the best idea. The lock on your door is your first line of defense, and giving away the key is a great way to put your belongings in jeopardy. If you have a roommate make sure to ask them not to give out their key as well, just to make sure no one is getting in your room without you knowing about it.

College is a fun time, but keeping your money safe is a big concern. With these tips, you should have a good idea of the basics to keep your belongings secure and make sure all your stuff stays right where it belongs: in your room.

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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