"Live like a college student now, so you do not have to later." It might seem a little cliché, but this expression offers sensible advice. While you may dream of making big bucks upon graduation, your best bet is not to spend money as if you already landed a great paying job. Here are some basic things you can do today to help ease the financial burden.


  • Be aware. Keep track of everything running through your checking account and your student account.

  • Be smart with your credit cards and other lines of credit. Charge only the amount you expect to be able to pay when your billing statement comes each month, and never let anyone else borrow your credit card. Limit the number of accounts you have to one or two.

  • Learn to say “no” to your friends. Chances are, others are also feeling the financial pinch, so, every once in a while, suggest an alternative that requires less (or no) money.

  • Avoid overspending on food. If you live on campus, choose the meal plan that is best for your needs. If you live off campus, make a trip to the grocery story to stock up before you blow all your money on fast food.

  • Take advantage of student discounts. Ask for special offers; it usually involves no more than showing your school ID card.

  • Curb your vending machine usage. Spending just a dollar a day in vending machines during a four-year degree program will cost over $1,000 more than purchasing the same volume of snacks from a grocery store.

  • Stay away from rent-to-own stores, pawn shops, payday and title loans and check cashing stores. The instant gratification you may get from using these businesses is sure to be overshadowed by the increased cost you pay for dealing with them.

  • Consider all costs when thinking about moving. Make sure you weigh all the costs of off-campus living, not just the cost of rent. Security deposits, utilities, food, cooking supplies, cleaning materials, insurance and the basic household items should all factor into the decision and your future budget.

  • Talk to your roommate about money matters. Make sure it is clear up front what each person’s responsibilities are. Know what is shared and what is up to you to provide and contribute.

  • Visit your school’s student employment office. Campus jobs often have flexible work hours and save you the expense of commuting to an off-campus location. A campus job that relates to your major can also be a nice addition to your resume.


8 Percent Rule for Student Loan Payments


College can be expensive. Your objective is to limit the amount of student loans you have to borrow, and ultimately pay back. If you decide to take out student loans, most financial advisors recommend that your monthly student loan payments should NOT exceed 8 percent of your total monthly gross income after you have graduated. 


To help you manage your current and future expenses develop and follow a budget and use the repayment estimator to determine how much student loan debt you can afford.