You don’t have to be studying math or economics to feel confident about finance. As summer comes to a close, it’s the perfect time for new college students to get some simple tips on how to be money savvy when you’re striking out on your own.
- Take Advantage of Financial Aid – From traditional scholarships to government-subsidized grants or loans, you may not be aware of all the financial aid available to you. To see if you’re eligible for more, reach out to the Office of Student and Financial Aid and Scholarships. At the University of Oregon, it’s located at 260 Oregon Hall.
- Build a Budget – With rent, textbooks and dining plans, college spending can add up quickly. So even if you already have a budget built (you go-getter), now is the time to take another look. To get started, try using the budgeting tool on our MyOCCU Mobile App, which will let you set monthly budgets under specific categories (such as groceries, entertainment and eating out), and then track your spending against them as the month progresses.
- Go for Alternate Transportation – At many campuses, you don’t need a car to explore the area. Consider catching a bus and/or check out whether your university or college offers student discounts on public transportation. When you don’t have to budget for insurance, repairs and gas, you have the flexibility to start saving.
- Get a Student Job – Staying on top of your finances is a balanced equation – it’s important to reduce your spending, but it also helps to increase your income. Whether it’s a work-study program, an internship, or a part-time opportunity, many university employers will work with you to find a campus job that fits your class schedule. You can also apply to be a resident assistant through University Housing or talk to the Career Center to see what other positions are available.
- Start Building that Emergency Fund – Even the best laid plans can go awry! As you begin the journey to your dream job, it’s important to build an emergency fund to deal with those times you can’t predict. By taking advantage of help from OCCU and saving a certain amount each month, it’s easier to be prepared. And the peace of mind you have knowing you have a bit of cushion goes a long way.
OCCU serves students all over the United States, and we revel in lending college students a helping hand. If you’re a new college student who is interested in learning more about finance, be sure to check out our Facebook Page and Twitter for ongoing financial planning insights.