Sending Your Teen Off to College? Here’s Some Tips to Help Them Spend Wisely

Sending your kid off to college can be a scary thing. Especially since it will most likely be the first time they will be in charge of their own finances. It is important to sit down with your child before he or she takes off to college to explain responsible spending and budgeting habits.

Here are a few tips to get them prepared for the real world:

Before they go away to school:

  • Introduce them to budgeting. Sit down with your teen and create a budget. It may be the first time that they have to budget and pay for their own clothes, meals, and personal care, and if they are able to see on paper how these things add up, they may be a more responsible spender.
  • Have them take the Military Saves pledge. Family members are eligible to take the Military Saves pledge, so make sure they sign up! This will be a great way for them to focus on a specific savings goal for after they graduate.
  • Open a bank or credit union account. If your child doesn’t already have a checking or savings account with a bank or credit union, go with them to open one and let them be part of the process. Open a savings account and if you’re able, tell them for every deposit they make, you will match it.

Once they are off to school:

  • Say no to credit offers. When I went to college I was bombarded with credit card offers on and off campus. Students are most tempted with these offers when they go to shopping malls. However, if you inform them of the high-interest rates that come with credit cards, maybe they will think twice before signing up.
  • Ditch the cable. Basic TV is all your child needs while at school. Encourage them to instead rent videos from their college library or subscribe to a DVD service.
  • Nix going out to eat. To make sure that the money you’re giving them for books and supplies don’t go to chicken and pizza take-out, talk to your teen about how quickly eating out can deplete their finances, and hopefully this will encourage them to make eating out a treat – and a once a month or less event.

 More articles on teens and youth:

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | December 16, 2013

    Check out the guide from @CFPB that helps you to know which questions to ask when shopping for a financial advisor http://ow.ly/rrjYO 

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