Best Financial Tips for New College Students |

As summer draws to a close, are you getting ready to send a kid off to college? They’ll surely be getting a good education in the classroom, but you want to make sure they pick up some life skills as well. Here are some of the best tips for college students to develop their financial savvy:

1. Start building credit now. It may not matter as much now as it will in a few years when you’re applying for an apartment or buying a car, but building disciplined habits with credit will serve you well throughout life. There are some credit cards designed for students that don’t require much credit history, but don’t go overboard.

2. Learn how to budget. The essential principle is to spend less than your income. Use a spreadsheet or tracking app to make it easier to keep track.

3. Challenge yourself to save. The mantra of personal finance is “pay yourself first.” Even on a limited college budget, you can still set aside a small amount each month to start building an emergency fund. Some banks even offer “round it up” programs where spark change from regular debit card purchases is automatically transferred into a savings account—a painless way to let some savings start to accumulate.

4. Get all the student discounts! After graduation, discounts like this probably won’t come along again until age 50+. Gift Card Granny lists many student freebies and discounts.

5. Protect your identity. Take these steps:

• Sign up for free credit monitoring.

• Keep an eye on your online accounts.

• Don’t give out your information easily.

• Use safe online practices. For example, don’t use the same, simple password for all your online accounts. And make sure you only enter information onto sites where the address begins with HTTPS instead of HTTP. The “s” at the end denotes means it’s a secure connection. Also, make sure the website is legitimate before you type in your information.


Luthl, B. “5 Financial Tips For New College Students”, Money Under 30, May 1, 2019.
Safier, R., “7 Financial Tips for College Students in the New Year”, Sudent Loan Hero, December 30, 2018.
Burbank, K., “3 back-to-school personal finance tips for college students”, Born2Invest, August 3, 2018