Congratulations! Your child is now a college freshman. As a parent, you are probably proud of them and are looking forward to their success. But as you send your child off to college, one important thing you need to teach them is how to save money. College can be expensive, and with no steady income, saving money can be challenging. However, with some smart strategies, your child can learn how to manage their finances and develop good spending habits. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to teach your college freshmen to save money.
The first step in teaching your college freshman to save money is by setting a budget. Before they leave for college, sit down together and come up with a monthly budget. While this may not be accurate at first, after a month or two, you can make adjustments and stick to it. Make sure to include all their expenses, such as room and board, groceries, dining, and other necessary expenses. This will help them keep track of their spending and avoid overspending.
No Need to Buy Textbooks
Most college freshmen assume that they need to buy all their textbooks for each class. However, this is not always the case. Instead of buying textbooks, your child can rent them for the semester. Renting textbooks can save them a lot of money, and most online bookstores offer this service. If renting is not possible, consider buying used books, which are often cheaper than new ones.
Avoid Shopping at the Mall During the Weekend
Avoid shopping at the mall during weekends when prices tend to be higher due to the influx of people. Encourage your college freshmen to opt for online shopping, which can offer better deals. If they need to shop at the mall, suggest that they go during weekdays when there are fewer people. Also, encourage them to look for sale items instead of paying full price.
Avoid Buying a Car
Buying a car is a significant expense, and for college freshmen, it’s not necessary. Most colleges have a reliable transportation system, including buses and shuttles, that can take them around campus and the surrounding area. Buying a car will only add to their expenses, and it’s not worth it.
Avoid Buying a Printer
In today’s digital age, there is no need to buy a printer. Most colleges have a printing center where students can print out their documents for free or at a minimal cost. If your child needs to print something out, encourage them to use the college printing center instead of buying a printer.
Avoid Spending Money on Computer Games
Computer games can be expensive, and college freshmen can be tempted to spend their money on them. However, most online games are free to play and can be just as entertaining as paid games. Encourage your child to play free games online and save their money.
Avoid Eating Out Too Often
Eating out can be expensive, and it can add up quickly. Encourage your child to cook their meals in their dorm or eat at the campus cafeteria, which is often included in their meal plan. This will save them money and allow them to have healthier meals.
Get a Mini Fridge and a Microwave
Getting a mini fridge and a microwave is a great way to save money on food. With a mini-fridge, your child can store their food and leftovers instead of buying food every day. A microwave can be used to heat up their meals, which is cheaper than buying food from restaurants.
Try Not to Use a Credit Card
Using a credit card can lead to overspending, especially if your child is new to managing money. Encourage your child to use a debit card instead of a credit card. Using a debit card will ensure that your child is only spending money that they actually have in their bank account. If your child does decide to use a credit card, make sure they understand the concept of interest rates and how they can affect their overall debt.
Talk with Parents
If your child needs to spend a large sum of money, such as $50 or more, encourage them to talk with you before making the purchase. As a parent, you can offer guidance and advice on whether the purchase is necessary or not. You can also help your child find ways to save money on the item they need, such as looking for deals or buying it secondhand.
Get an Unlimited Cell Phone Plan
Cell phone bills can quickly add up, especially if your child is constantly using their phone. Consider getting an unlimited cell phone plan for your child to avoid overage fees. Many phone companies offer student discounts, so be sure to look into those as well.
Do Not Buy Any Subscription Service
Subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime can quickly add up to a large monthly expense. Encourage your child to limit their subscriptions to only what they actually use and need. If they do not need a subscription service, then they should not sign up for one.
Check Your Spendings Every Month
It is important for your child to track their expenses and income each month. Have them review their bank statements and credit card statements to ensure that they are not overspending or going over their budget. This will also help them identify areas where they can cut back on spending.
Teaching your college freshmen how to save money can be a challenging task, but it is an important one. By encouraging your child to budget, avoid unnecessary purchases, and make wise financial decisions, you can set them up for a successful financial future. Remember, the habits that they develop in college will likely stick with them for the rest of their lives.