Teaching your child how to manage their finances and knowing how to best support them during their time in college is extremely important. You don’t want to leave them high and dry, but you also don’t want them completely depending on you the entire time either. Here is how to help your college student with their finances.
Come to an Agreement on Financial Assistance
If you are helping your child out financially while they are in college, then you need to come to an agreement on how much they should actually need. This is all dependent upon what you and your child really can manage. If your child says that they can get by so long as rent and food expenses are taken care of, then you can calculate that monthly cost. If they come back to you at the end of the month needing more money, then you can remind them that both parties need to uphold their side of the deal.
Help Them Find a Job
Your child may not think that they have enough time to hold a part-time job while going to school full-time, but a lot of students can manage it. One way to make it easier is to find a job on campus. If they work in one of the cafes or cafeterias then they can make money, and at the same time they can cut down on food costs. Everyone knows that there is always free leftover food at the end of the day when you work in the food industry.
Discourage Them From Over-using Credit
It doesn’t matter if your student lives on campus or if they’re taking classes with Rutgers Online, they are probably not mature enough to handle a credit card just yet. If they start using one before they are ready, they may end up destroying their credit before they even graduate. If they do have a credit card, make sure to teach them that they should never spend more than 20% of their credit limit and always pay off their bill in full.
Show Shem How to Track Their Spending
These days there are all kinds of websites you can use to track your income and spending habits. Make sure you find one that you can trust and then you can connect your online account with all of your bank accounts. Some of the better ones will automatically categorize all of your spending so that you can see how much of your money is going toward food, gas, shopping, etc.
Teach Them the Importance of Saving
In the end, it’s important that your college student knows how to start saving money. Every time they deposit a check in their checking account, they should be putting a small amount of that money in their savings account. Even if it’s only 10 or 20 dollars, that money can really start to add up over time. And in the event that they really are short of cash, they will know that there is a rainy day fund available to them in a pinch.