March 24, 2011
“Real Life College Student” Blog for being a Financially Savvy College Student
Recently, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) called out to college and high students interested in blogging their college experiences and lessons learned in order to offer future students of higher education first hand facts and advice from today’s real life college setting. If you are a current college student or high school student preparing to enter college and are interested in blogging for UHEAA, please send an email to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and we will gladly send you details.
The first installment in our “Real Life College Student” blog series is by Utah college student, Cole Spicker. Cole currently studies Chemistry and Spanish. He really enjoys reading, good food and great friends. He admits that he is a little obsessed with education and hopes to make lasting, positive contributions to society. We hope you enjoy Cole’s debut UHEAA blog about being a financially savvy college student!
First of all, I am elated to be a part of the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) in my capacity as a college student blogger. While Mr. Ollivander from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone did not whisper in my ear “I think we can expect great things from you,” I sincerely hope that some information provided in this blog can be of use to you — and that you can author some “great things.”
College is, for the majority of students, the first chance to make financial decisions on our own. Often, these decisions can have life-long impacts and can serve as a foundation for future, financial-related decisions. In other words, NOW is the best time to develop the right skills for a financially secure future.
Most high school students have a little spending money, either from a part-time job or an allowance. This can present a problem since few students are faced with “real life” living expenses. As such, high school students can easily start their way down a rocky path of developing spending habits that become unrealistic when they must support themselves. Once down that high-spending path, it can be an arduous, even strenuous, task to demonstrate self-restraint.
A recent nationwide survey discovered that the majority of college students possess three credit cards with an average balance of $1,000. Many students reported that they did not feel like they were spending “real money” when using credit cards. Furthermore, many feel that as long as they are meeting minimum payment requirements, they are in good shape. However, let’s consider the following situation:
An incoming freshman college student goes on a shopping spree and decides to make the purchases on the handy, dandy credit card … after all, you have got to look good for those girls (or boys)! At an interest rate of 18 percent and paying monthly minimum payments of $20, this student will incur an additional $860 of debt — solely from interest. What’s more — this particular student will finish his bachelor’s and master’s degree before paying off this acquired debt. Of course, minimum payments will only become more expensive if he continues to use that piece of plastic.
If you’re a student and choose to have a credit card, try to get one with a lower spending cap and use it only for emergencies. Issues of health or provisions — amongst other basic needs — need to be met and are of extreme importance. Credit cards, if managed properly, can be of great benefit when trying to attain exceptional credit scores. So, the bottom line: If you get a credit card, be financially sharp!
If you fall under the category of having a financially burdensome habit (Girls: 4-5 pairs of shoes are all you need! Boys: One or two burritos will suffice for dinner—not a dozen), seek the necessary help. If you feel your parents can help you, call them. Take some financial literacy courses at the collegiate level. If all else fails, make an appointment with a counselor at your college or university. Only good can come from finding a way to remove those habits that drain your wallet.
A word to the wise: create and adhere to a budget — but we’ll discuss this totally awesome (and hip, mind you! I know for a fact hip people love budgeting) topic next week.
If you have any questions or comments for Cole, please add them using the comment box below and he will gladly reply.Posted by: blee