- Create a Budget
Be mindful of how much you spend to stay ahead of expenses and costs. Help keep track of your budget with tools like spreadsheet, notebook, an expense-tracking app, or checkbook to better see how you’re actually spending your money. Identify essentials like rent, groceries, transportation, and insurance things that you need to live. Non-essentials are variable such as dining out, entertainment, traveling, and subscription services. This will help sort out the cost of spending by goods or services and hopefully help eliminate spending on things that are unnecessary.
- Build Credit Early
Building credit is one of the most important things a young person can do to financially help themselves. Students can begin building credit by opening a credit card account that is tailored towards students with low spending limits and no annual fees. Using said card on small purchases like food and gas will help to build up the overall credit score, and make it easier to acquire bigger purchases later on. Avoid missing payments, as an insufficient balance month-to-month can affect your credit and lead to higher costs due to accrued interest.
- Work a Part-Time Job
Part time jobs can help cut into the cost young people have accrued from school or any other sources, and also gives you valuable skills and experience to take forward in life. If possible, try to find something related to your field of interest or a paid internship that can instill skills you may use in your career.
Freelancing is another option available to make some money, without the time commitment of a full time job. Websites and apps such as Fiverr, Upwork, and TaskRabbit are available for just such a service.
- Compare Student Loan Rates (if your attending a four year college)
Many students need to take out a federal or personal loan to cover tuition costs. To ensure that you are getting the best rates, seek out expert advice to avoid significant student loan debt.
After graduation, pay attention to loan payment schedules and available repayment options. You can also refinance your loans for new terms and lower rates once you build your credit and advance further through your career.