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reading, writing and financial literacy: money tips for the collegiate soul

Venturing off to college can be a rewarding and liberating experience.
You’re finally out of the nest and broken free from the oppressive
clutches of your parental units. No more chores, no more lectures and
definitely no more curfews.

However, while venturing off to greener pastures, there are several
financial traps that college students can easily fall into that will
affect them long after graduation.

1. Keeping up with the Joneses. The concept of delayed
gratification will become more familiar to you than ramen noodles and
Easy Mac®. Your dorm mate may be talking on his new iPhone and sporting
the latest gear, but no two financial situations are alike. Learn to be
content with what you have and focus on the bigger picture. After you
graduate and land your dream job, you can buy all the iTunes your
salary allows.

2. No Budget. During your collegiate years, it can feel like
money is harder to come by than cancelled classes. But, if you make a
few adjustments to your spending, you’ll find your money stretching
further than you thought possible. Bypass vending machines, plan your
shopping trips and avoid impulse shopping. Sitting down to figure out
where your money is going is the first step to financial freedom.

3. Eating Out. With your busy schedule, finding time to plan a
meal and pack a lunch can be a daunting task, resulting in your
becoming a resident of Fast-Food Nation. Pack snacks to hold you over
until you can make it home. Making your food stretch also helps your
money stretch.

4. No Savings Plan. No matter your age, no matter your income,
everyone should have a savings plan. Of course, you’re not going to be
able to contribute as much as you could if you had a full-time job.
But, if you practice paying yourself first now, it will become second
nature to you.

Credit Card Debt. The biggest mistake college students make is
accumulating credit card debt. Mounting debt will cause your FICO score
to fall faster than your GPA after a failed class. Negative credit
scores can affect your purchasing a car and even future employment. The
average credit card debt for students is $2,200. However, if you have
to resort to a credit card, make sure every payment is on time every
time. – adam jones