Personal Finance 

Take Control of Your Financial Situation

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This article is part of the series, The Summer of George- The Most Productive Summer a College Student Will Ever Have.

Do you think that you don’t earn enough money have to worry about managing your finances? If so you are dead wrong. If you get into the habit of properly managing your finances at an early age then these habits will hopefully follow you into your 30s and so on. Let this summer be known as the time where you finally took control of your financial situation.

Open a retirement account. Even if you put $20 into this account once a month it still beats not having a retirement account setup. I started my first retirement account when I was 17 and my Mom had to co-sign it.

Start an emergency fund. As a college student an emergency fund may not be your top priority but when you graduate it becomes an important issue. The reason an emergency fund becomes an issue after graduation? Simple, this will most likely be your first step into the “real world” and unexpected events WILL happen. You can’t prevent certain emergencies from happening but you might as well be financially prepared.

Setup a debt repayment plan. If you are using student loans to fund your college tuition then you definitely need to start thinking about how you will pay off your debt. Will you consolidate your loans? Will you start by paying off your high interest debt first? These are decisions and payments you need to begin making this summer not after your college graduation.

Keep track of your spending. Summer is probably the worst time to keep track of your spending because it seems like there is always something going on and always a reason to spend money. However, there is no sense in waiting to begin keeping track of your spending. Start the moment you read this article. No excuses, try to keep track of all of the money you spend to see where you stand. This means you might have to use your iPhone for more than just going on Twitter.

Automate your finances. This final point ties this whole article together. I just listed four major points that most college students will not even consider due to the amount of work they think is required. Here’s a little not-so-well-known secret you can automate every aspect of your financial situation. How can you do this? Well I don’t know how the banks exactly do it but after filling out a few forms you can automate your finances even if you earn $100 a month. A little saving is better than no saving.

We all want to have a productive summer but we just don’t know where to start. Here’s a little secret: you can start by reading The Summer of George- The Most Productive Summer a College Student Will Ever Have:

This is a guest post from the blogger behind Studenomics a personal finance blog that offers common sense advice for college students and recent graduates. Studenomics is the ultimate resource for young people looking for advice on how to survive this current recession, grow their careers, manage their finances, and still be able to enjoy the weekends.

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Take Control of Your Financial Situation”

  1. MissMartha says:

    Man! I wish I had some of these resources when I was in college. I studied abroad one summer in Germany but I wish that I could have gone back other summers and worked. Maybe its not too late now… haha.

  2. eric says:

    I like Studenomics. 🙂

  3. StephaniePTY says:

    I can’t agree with the emergency fund enough. Even while in college, I had things that would go wrong, or break, that I had to pay for. I was a commuter student for the second half of college – completely dependent on my car. I needed to have cash on hand to deal with repairs. One time, I didn’t… and I had to sink $400 into my credit card to pay for half of the repairs (my parents generously paid the other half).

    On top of an emergency fund, I always recommend a Getting Established fund, for all the expenses you’ll incur in the 6-12 months after graduation. These two funds can be rolled together in one savings account, but you should figure out how much you need to have for each one.

  4. Studenomist says:

    @eric Studenomics likes you too.

    @Stephanie I completely agree with you that college students need some sort of a backup plan. IF you don’t care much for the term “emergency fund” then start a “when stuff happens fund.” We all need a plan B for when life throws us a curve ball.

  5. Jess says:

    I’m a rising senior in college and this post is really quite helpful. Already having perused the field of personal finance for some time, I have a Roth IRA with automatic deposits of the minimum $50 that has been going for the last year. I also have a decently-sized emergency fund that I haven’t touched at all, despite being abroad for the semester right now. But I really am interested in how to go about setting up debt repayment and thinking about how to start planning for that. I have a fairly small amount of student debt compared to my peers, especially since I attend a private university, and would like to begin contemplating my options. I’m still not sure where I’m headed after senior year – like most others my age – so I suppose it’ll depend on if I return home for a bit, if I move to a metropolitan city, or if I stay or move to an equal city in size and socioeconomic status.

    If you decide to post about student debt repayment plans for rising grads/new grads, I bet you’ll find a lot of interested people. I find a lot of information on student debt repayment for people with families or mortgages. But little is said for those personal finance fanatics like myself, who are looking to crush debt as soon as possible. (Though I know there is some validity to having student loans, in order to diversify my credit, I would prefer to have less rather than more debt.)

    Thanks for the helpful post and links!

    • Michael says:

      I am sure you have looked at consolidating your loans. I would try and find the best deal and then lock in a low interest rate for as long as 30 years. As long as most of your loans are from the government and not private you can often get money at a cheaper rate than you ever will for the rest of your life. I locked in my rate on $70,000 at 1.625%. Financially it is stupid for me to make more than the minimum payment since this is essentially a negative interest rate (inflation averages 3%). Psychologically I don’t like having all that debt hanging over my head so I admit to making some extra payments but probably shouldn’t be.

  6. mbhunter says:

    Exactly. Control your finances or someone else will.

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