Most people graduate high school in May and go to school in August. That summer is a perfect time for perfecting your finances. It’ll mean you can set your finances on autopilot so you won’t have to be worrying about things so much while in school.
The first thing you want to do is make sure your scholarships are all sorted. Try to avoid taking out private loans if they begin accruing interest right away. That’s scary because you won’t be making a decent income while in school. Opt for federal student loans that have a grace period. Having a grace period means you don’t have to pay interest right away on loans to acquire. Furthermore, you will have 6 or 9 months where you don’t need to pay interest either. The idea is you will have time after school to get your life sorted before you have to start repayment.
For the biggest bang for your buck, get a summer job. Saving money is well and all but making money is how you’ll really get ahead of the game. Find a job that pays well and will look good on your resume. Make sure you enjoy the job as well. You’ll work harder and just enjoy life more. And isn’t that what life is all about?
Something else that’s on the horizon is moving. You want to know how to make packing boxes easier? Having fewer of them. One way to make your life easier and get money is by selling all the possessions you won’t want moving forward. Sell them also because your parents will appreciate not having them clutter up the house. You’ll have to do this sooner or later so you may as well do it before leaving for college. I prefer using Craigslist and eBay. Big items on Craigslist, specialty items on eBay.
Going back to saving money, you can save money by asking your parents to give you a budget for things instead of just outright buying you stuff your your dorm, etc. This way you can be a savvy shopper and pocket a little of the money. Tell your parents this so they know what you plan to do. Most parents will be proud.
Another way to save money between high school and college is to ask your relatives for any hand-me-downs that would work in your dorm. These can be things like older televisions, futons, etc. Anything that may keep you from having to buy the things on your own. Many people are happy to give you stuff just to get rid of it.
You can continue to save money by connecting with your upcoming roommate. Living with a roommate saves you lots of money. So you should aim to have a roommate at least until you’re out of college. By connecting with your first year roommate early enough, you’ll be able to tell if they are a good fit. You want them to be a good fit so you have a good experience. Then you won’t be scared of having future roommates. If you don’t seem to mesh, ask the housing department if you can get a new roommate. All it may take is a phone call.
Enjoy saving and enjoy college!
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com