April 15. Tax Day. What better day to talk about how to manage your finances as a college student? I know what you’re thinking…“Ugh, do we have to talk about money? It’s so boring.”
Yes, yes it is. But it’s also important. Especially as many of you will be moving off-campus and will eventually leave the Ohio State bubble! And hopefully, by paying a little attention to these easy tips, we’ll all be able to save a couple of cents here and there (which add up to dollars!)
Create a Budget
Seriously. The importance of this cannot be overstated. How are you supposed to make best use of your money if you don’t even know what it’s being used for? A budget is a great way to keep track of all of expenses, so you can always make sure you’re on track for your savings goals, or to pay all of your bills. There are great online budgeting resources, like Mint.com, that allow you to integrate your bank account and see how well you’re working toward your budgeting goals.
Know Your Stuff
College graduates are faced with a lot of debt. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you graduate! Read up on the types of loans and grants you receive, and the size of your debt after graduation. That way, you’ll be better prepared to pay it all off as quickly and easily as possible. Financial Coaches in the Student Wellness Center can help you navigate through your various forms of debt and set up a realistic plan for managing your finances.
3. Shop Smart
We all have a love/hate relationship with textbooks. Can’t learn without them, can’t save your money with them. Fortunately, there is a compromise. Make smart choices about where and how you purchase books! Always compare prices across bookstores, and know that online book shopping is a great option. Consider renting if you don’t need the textbook beyond the semester. E-books are often available for purchase online, and can be ridiculously more economical than the physical textbook! Always compare prices, and the beginning of the semester will be a lot less painful for your wallet.
Keep these ideas in mind, and you’ll be financially savvy in no time.
Happy Tax Day!