Finance 101: Your guide to saving money during and after college
Pretty soon it'll be time for you to say goodbye to free rent, free clothes and free food. As much as you love relying on mom and dad to pay for your fabulous lifestyle, once you graduate from college, it's time to start thinking independently and start paying your own bills. Rather than waiting until you're thrown head-first into the real world, take the time during your college years to practice saving money. If you're still in school, you should get ready by following these key steps toward financial freedom:
Get a credit card
No, don't settle for a joint credit account with your parents - sign up at a local bank for a credit card of your own so you can start to establish a good credit score well before you have to begin paying off loans. You should also brush up on your credit knowledge: Scores can range from 300 to 800, depending on how good you are with paying the bills on time. With a good credit rating, you could potentially take out small business loans, mortgages and car payment loans without being rejected.
It's never too early to make a budget for yourself, whether you work a part-time job as a barista or have a paid internship by the time you graduate from school. A lot of free mobile applications and internet programs like Mint.com make it easy for you to look at your spending habits every day and see where you're spending frivolously. The great thing about these budgeting tools is that you don't have to worry about saving receipts - they're all stored with your banking history.
Go grocery shopping
As much as you might think that pizza contains your daily intake of proper nutrients, it doesn't. Plus, eating the stuff day in and day out racks up a hefty bill (Just think about it - one $15 pizza a week comes to about $780 a year. That's a lot of dough). Rather than eating out all the time, try to practice your culinary skills while you're still in school, cooking up smorgasbords for study groups or getting fancy with your very own pizza concoctions.