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7 Financial Tips for College Freshman

Portrait of a beautiful young woman working from home on her laptop.

For many young adults, college is the first time they control the majority of their finances. On top of that adjustment, striking the balance between spending and saving can be difficult. But watching spending habits from day one can be a great way to establish good money habits and take control of their financial future.

These seven tips can help ease the transition to financial independence and get on the right money-saving path:

1. Create a budget. Take some time to figure out your income and set your goals, factoring in recurring expenses that must be paid (tuition, books, car insurance, etc.), some of your possible “wants” (any recreational activities), and savings for emergencies. Our mobile app and online banking tools help you keep an eye on your money and stay on track for your goals.

2. Track your spending. Create a spreadsheet or download an app to see where your money is going each month. Mapping out your spending habits identifies where you might want to make adjustments.

3. Save a little each month. Try saving your spare change and deposit it into your account each month. Increase the amount by $5 each month or semester. This is an easy and manageable way to establish good financial habits your future self will appreciate.

4. Open an interest-bearing account. Stash some of your high school graduation money in an account that earns interest for doing nothing. For example, if you open a certificate of deposit (CD) you can earn interest in exchange for agreeing to leave your money alone for a specific period of time. Plan it right, and you can have CDs mature right as you need them each semester to help pay for tuition and expenses.

5. Utilize campus resources. Universities offer plenty of amenities to students for little-to-no cost. Take advantage of benefits such as free access to the campus rec center and shuttles that take you to off-campus locations.

6. Use student discounts. When you want to take a break from the campus dining halls, or feel the urge to treat yourself, try looking for places that offer student discounts. Most discounts typically range from 10-15% and will accept your campus ID as verification.

7. Build credit wisely. Look into applying for a student credit card you can use for small purchases that you’re able to pay off in full each month, like a music streaming subscription. If you don’t have your own source of income or are not comfortable handling the responsibility of credit alone, ask your parents to add you as an authorized user for one of their cards to establish a history of credit.


Just like in the classroom, this is a learning experience, so we encourage students to ask questions. We want to be a trusted resource for your financial issues and are always here to help. Stop in today or give us a call and we can tell you more about the extensive services we offer to help you on your financial journey.


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