Fall 2016 – (MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA) – There’s so much to love about college. More independence. Roommates. Parties. Your college years can be some of the greatest years of your life. Its also the very best time to establish smart money habits that will help you be good with your money for a lifetime. Mint, a free iPhone and Android app, helps you spend smarter and save more and offers tips for college students to help keep your finances in check.
Student loans and basic necessities are unavoidable while you’re at school, but there are ways to budget from the start of the year and make choices that will set you up for long-term success. According to The College Board’s annual budget survey, tuition and fees constitute 39 percent of the total budget for in-state students living on campus at public four-year colleges and universities; and 20 percent of the budget for public two-year college students who pay for off-campus housing.
That’s not even the fun stuff like date night, going out with friends, or a spring break trip if you become a real pro at saving! Here are some helpful back-to-school tips to make sure you’re in the best financial shape no matter where you are in your college career:
- Start budgeting: Once you’re out on your own, the cost of living can skyrocket, so it’s good to get into the habit of keeping tabs on your finances now. Use a free personal finance app like Mint to track your money and determine what’s most important and what you’re willing to spend less on. Non-essential spending like dining out, entertainment and clothing are easy spending categories to cut back on.
- Don’t rack up credit card debt: The average college graduate leaves school with a $2,000 credit card balance, based on a Nellie Mae study. Keep the number of lines of credit you open to a minimum, the more you open the harder it is to keep on top of your payments. Once it is time to make payments, pay on time (Mint will send you bill reminders so you don’t forget!). Even one late payment can increase your interest rates and damage your credit score, so make sure to only charge what you know you can pay back in a month or two.
- Avoid the campus bookstore: Instead of buying textbooks at your university bookstore, where prices tend to be inflated, consider renting textbooks through Amazon or another service, at a fraction of the price. Visit a drugstore or office supply store to buy notebooks, pens, and other supplies where the prices tend to be college student-friendly. Better yet, borrow books and supplies when you can!
- Leave your car at home: If you can avoid bringing a car to school, then do so. Long-term parking can be costly, especially in big cities. Furthermore, the ever-rising price of gas is sure to put a dent in your pocket. Utilize public transportation and ride-shares instead.
- Eat a few nights at home: Cooking in college can be a challenge, especially if you live in a dorm or a small apartment with a lot of roommates. Yet, going out for pizza every night adds up fast. Create a weekly budget for your groceries and commit to cooking at least 3 meals a week. When you buy food, you’ll feel more inclined to use it, which is healthier for you and your wallet.
- Start preparing to pay down student loans: If you’re building up student loan debt, be prepared. Your loans will enter repayment within six to nine months after graduation and you’ll need to pay at least the minimum payment. When graduation time comes, use resources like the Federal Student Aid website for additional tips and tricks on paying off loans.
The best thing you can do for your post-college years is to establish good money habits now. Mint will help ease you into the world of budgeting, goal setting, bill paying and understanding loans. While it’s not a course worth credits, the lessons you teach yourself when it comes to money will be priceless.
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About Intuit Inc.
Intuit Inc. creates business and financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks® and TurboTax®, which make it easier to manage small businesses and tax preparation and filing. Mint.com provides a fresh, easy and intelligent way for people to manage their money, while Intuit’s ProConnect brand portfolio includes ProConnect Online, ProSeries® and Lacerte®, the company’s leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants. Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.2 billion in its fiscal year 2015. The company has approximately 7,700 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.