Preparing to set off for college in New York is an adventure of itself. Transitioning out of your parents’ home, learning to deal with your own finances and managing your daily expenses can be extremely challenging. Before you begin spending on your new life, here are some pro tips to consider:
- Budget. The number 1 step for financial planning is creating a good budget and sticking with it. Draw up a list of your fixed expenses, including rent, utilities, food, tuition and loan payments, car and gas payments and whatever other regular expenses you have, and then create a second list of expenses such as clothes, dining out, entertainment etc. Once you have your lists set up, you can create a budget to suit.
- Cut back. Sometimes, financial obligations demand a large portion, or all of, your budget. Living within your means is crucial, and will allow you to avoid accumulating debt as well as to adopt healthy financial habits for the future. College students are usually tight for cash, so accepting that some sacrifices may be necessary and planning ahead for bigger events will spare you a significant amount of stress.
- Avoid debt. Though tempting, credit cards can leave you with overwhelming debt. What happens in college doesn’t always stay in college, so prepare for your financial future by actively avoiding debt. You may want to keep a credit card for emergencies, but be sure to think carefully before each use.
- Save. Saving money during college may feel like an impossible task, but proper planning and budgeting may allow you to save even a small amount each month. This will provide a valuable cushion if unexpected expenses come up, as well as an extra account to use later in life.
Later this week, an Essex Financial Services advisor will be hosting a free college planning seminar at Cyrenius H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street. Essex Financial’s Sean Flynn is a financial advisor who specializes in college planning.