Handling Money during College

Question: Our daughter is going off to college next week. She definitely needs some tips on how to manage the small amount of money she has to spend beyond tuition and room and board. Do you have any suggestions? -- Panicking

Answer: You need to obtain the book "College Poor No More! 100 $avings Tips for College Students" by financial planner Michelle Perry Higgins and have your daughter read it before her first day on campus.

The book should help her start her college years off the right way financially with its invaluable, money-saving tips. She will find out how to budget, cut costs and be frugal, all without sacrificing the fun that is college life.

There are tips on managing money, shopping, cooking, eating and drinking. There are ideas on ways to cut costs for social life, day-to-day living, housing, travel and professional matters.

Here are a few great examples from the book that will help your daughter manage her money wisely:

Unless she is going to stuff her cash in a mattress (which the author doesn't recommend), she should open her own checking and savings accounts before heading off to college. This is crucial.

  • -Choose a bank with a branch on your college campus.
  • -Choose the same bank your parents use, so they can easily transfer funds to you or act as co-signers.
  • -Most important, select an account with NO monthly fee.
  • -Ask if there is an ATM fee or a withdrawal fee. Ask if they can be waived. You'd be surprised how much leeway the bank associate has to assist you.
  • -Set up an online banking account so you can go paperless.
  • -Sign up for weekly or even daily emails containing your account balances. Get online and view your transactions.
  • -Know your limits when dining out.
  • -Remember separate checks.
  • -Learn to love leftovers.
  • -Pass on cable.
  • -Leave house phones at home.
  • -Sublet your apartment or house over the summer.
  • -Keep your car at home.
  • -Carpool home for the holidays.