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The Easy Financial Care Package for the College Student

Updated on September 15, 2012
A creative financial care package removes much stress for college students.
A creative financial care package removes much stress for college students. | Source

The easy financial care package is something every college student needs. College is not only expensive just to attend, but simple cares, like laundry and groceries, can mount with each passing day. So right now let’s think of ways to monetarily help out our next batch of doctors and barely-graduated.

A financial care package is one way to do this. We’ll forgo the sugary treats, DVDs, and CDs that normally make up most surprise parcels. You can be sure that this will be a gift that makes a big statement and hopefully changes the person’s life forever.

Financial Aid for the Daily Routine

So where can we help a college student quickest and the most? Let’s hold off on ideas like Roth IRAs, financial coaching, and loan payments that may be better for after graduation. Instead, think of it this way: If daily needs in our lives can affect how we perform on our jobs and in other activities, college students are sure to be mentally and emotionally affected by not having enough money for needed supplies, clothing, and social outings—and this could affect their grades.

Further, many students are only able to remain in college with the help of need-based grants and scholarships. We can be sure that they already carry more than enough loans, too.

So an easy financial care package makes a big difference.

It takes a real load off students and parents when something generous shows up that helps in a thoughtful and needed way. Sometimes the big financial burdens are not the problem. They will get handled. But often there’s little left for the student's personal use—and what parent doesn't worry that their child is well-cared for?

Here are some suggestions for ways you or your group can help. They are divided into three categories from which you can mix or match items. Then, you may want to bless a student real good with everything!

Financial Tips While at College

  • Get a job
  • Set financial goals
  • Use cash or debit cards and avoid credit cards
  • Never leave money lying around or easily found

The Simple Cash Gift

Wallet. Well not just a wallet—put some money in it! By now Johnny and Jane shouldn’t be bare-handing money around, but a new wallet (or money clip) is always nice—and nicer when discovered with crisp bills inside. The simple cash gift lets the student take care of random and emergency needs.

Roll Quarters. Every student has to do laundry. You remember it: Laundry was really never the problem—it was finding quarters to do it! Load your financial care package with 2-5 rolls of quarters (enough for months) and specify that they are for laundry only—not the snack machine.

Prepaid Cards for Direct Needs

A financial care package may not be complete without some type of prepaid card. This is one of the easiest ways to give the most help. Cash cards, like those by VISA and MasterCard, are much like debit cards. College students can use these at most major retailers for just about anything. Gift cards are a type of prepaid card. These let you choose the student’s favorite or likely favorite stores and offer a gift they are sure to enjoy. A grocery card is excellent for the one living off-campus. Restaurant gift cards are great because college students often tire of cafeteria food. Movie gift cards are a hit, too.

Useful Video Link

Watch this "Funny Money" cartoon video link on best financial practices. It's great but unable to be embedded here.

Source

Fact:

The national average cost for books and supplies for one college school year is about $1,100.

Investments

Now we’ll start thinking with more range, although not too far. Let’s start simple: a piggy bank. That’s right. And today money banks come as crude as plastic containers to snazzy digitized, electronic gadgets. Some banks you can paint and design yourself. But a simple personal bank will do. The point it to steer your college student’s mind toward saving, if only their…silver.

Okay, let’s invest in a major way in our student’s success. Give a book stipend. Books are egregiously expensive in college these days. A single new book can gut you $70-$150, and more depending on one’s field. Offering to pay for a student’s books for a semester or year is an enormous weight off the shoulders. And there are several ways to handle it: send money, transact directly with the bookstore, or repay the student or parents. Many odds-and-ins to this one (rent books, online purchase, library, used books, syllabus previews, resell value, long-term use)—so think it through first.

If the college student is living in their own apartment, you may want your financial care package to include the option to pay some portion of their rental insurance. Many apartment complexes now require it, and a student really should have it. Think of the financial burden to bear if anything ever went wrong. Better safe than sorry.

Now let’s go a little further: savings bonds. This is an excellent idea if your purpose is to stow something away for the student. And to be generous, be creative: every “A” or “B” grade earns so much more money in additional bonds. I guarantee you a lesson learned in deferred gratification. Savings bonds must be purchased online from the Treasury Department these days, but the process is easy. You would be able to print out a gift certificate for presenting in-person.

Finally, include a personal financial development book in your care package. This is your way to allow for no excuses with your college student’s current and future financial management. Just maybe he or she will read it and see how your easy financial care package is a major start in their life’s education.

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    • ithabise profile imageAUTHOR

      Michael S. 

      6 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Thanks for reading, BlackandGoldJack. It can be a worrisome thing because youth have to be responsible and careful to manage their affairs well; then they have to be watchful of the people around them. Yes, you're right about the savings bonds. In this case, the one giving would have to create an account and so would the student. Then the money would be transferred to him or her. It's not difficult fortunately.

    • BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

      Jack Hazen 

      6 years ago from Blitzburgh area

      Hey, those are some good ideas.

      My 18-year-old daughter went off to college a couple days ago. I gave her $50 in cash and said, "Here's your going away present." She grabbed it, but I pulled it back and asked, "You promise you won't use it to buy alcohol and drugs?" She nodded and I let go of it.

      She has a debit card so she should be fine unless she loses it. She did lose it a week ago and we were ready to cancel it and order a new one but she found it.

      You know, you can't just go to the bank and buy savings bonds any more. As of around six months ago, you have to go online to Treasury and buy them.

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