Piggy on pile of cash

Six Finance Tips for College Students

March 3, 2022

While adulting may bring countless new adventures and excitement, along with it comes the beginning of financial affairs. For many people, managing money starts alongside their college career. Some are juggling how to pay for college, earning money, and getting good grades. College is all about preparing yourself for the real world. The Financial Wellness program provided by the Student Wellness Center is a great starting point. Below are six quick tips to shine light on your finances.  

1. Learn how to speak money  

A big part of navigating the finance world is learning about the different paths money travels. Money consists more of than just counting dollar bills and coins. It’s knowing which credit card to open, how to read card statements, and which loan has the best offer. The wellness offers many financial workshops, coaching programs, and resources.  

2. Use credit wisely

The act of opening a credit card can lead to a sense of anxiety or excitement, especially for inexperienced individuals. Always keep in mind that expenses on a credit card are really a loan, not free money. Instead, start with the pros and cons of different cards. Research their interest charges, late fees, and principal before committing.  

3. Create a realistic budget

What may seem like an obvious point is also the most ignored. Don’t spend more than you earn. Tracking income and expenses can help get a clear sense of monthly cash flow. Budgeting can look different for everyone. While some may use an app or a spreadsheet, others prefer their piggy bank. By understanding your budget, you develop a wider sense of control.  

4. Don’t be afraid of discounts

A part of college is learning to save money and taking advantage of the free perks. Oftentimes businesses and services near college campuses offer student discounts. What may not seem as much can add up. There’s no shame in Googling for that 20% off discount. Exploring the city and its hidden corners is a lot more fun when it’s not breaking the bank. Back in 2014 our Student Government Association (SGA) launched a discount program for students, faculty, and staff. Discounts and deals available on all fronts.   

5. Set an emergency fund

An emergency fund is the little bag with money that’s hidden under our mattresses, figuratively speaking. Whenever you have a little extra money, sneak a few bills into the fund. It is designed to ease stress when you encounter an immediate or urgent financial emergency. In college, these emergencies can be a popped tire or lost debit card. Unfortunately, our responsibilities just keep growing, as do the number of potential emergencies increases. Decisions can be made from a position of financial safety rather than one of panic. 

6. Use Available Resources

Money plays an important role in our lives, which can also impact mental and physical health, along with academic performance. Financial stress is commonly found amongst college students. There are many ways to learn how to maximize your finances. CU Denver’s Student Wellness Center is home to countless financial wellness resources. From workshops to financial coaching, to literacy guides it has resources for everything. Make sure to check it out.