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Teach Your New College Student/ How to Save Money

Updated on December 23, 2008

College is a time of great growth for any student.  One of the most important things your college student can learn is how to save money and thus not waste it all in a week.  There are a few things you can do to ensure that your college student understands finances.  Before your son or daughter leaves, you need to set a few ground rules.  This guide is assuming that they will not be working their Freshman year, as being required to work can really hurt their grades, and should only be done if absolutely necessary. 

Basic Ground Rules

There are a few basic ground rules concerning money that you need to set. Firstly, they'll need their own bank account, for the sake of simplicity, and thus their own debit card.  Also, you should make sure they have an emergency credit card.  The debit card is for everyday expenses, the credit card is for 100% authorized puchases by you and for emergencies only. 

How Much of a Budget Should I Give?

This is a more difficult question.  Different places cost different amouns to live in.  Also, different students have different interests which will not all cost the same.  Thus, the best thing to do is to start with a budget like $300/month (this is not including rent or books), and see what happens.

See whether the student needs more or not.  Take a look at the bills and decide if the money was being spent correctly or not.  From there you can slowly adapt it to your childs needs.  Make sure that they keep tabs on how much they spend as well; high school doesn't teach most kids a thing about balancing a budget or anything like that, so college is a fantastic place for you to do it. 


The best thing you can do is do trial and error.  Eventually you'll find the right amount.  It's good to make sure you dont give too much, because then they dont learn how to budget their money at all.  In the end, making your child live on a budget is the first step towards the skills they'll need to be completely financially dependant from you. 


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    • DarleneMarie profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Great advice! Not giving too much is the best way to teach them budgeting and responsibility.


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