October 12, 2009
(NewsUSA) – The months before entering college are busy ones
for students and parents alike. Purchasing new clothing, shopping for furnishings and
heart-to-heart conversations about the importance of putting classes above socializing are all part
of the pre-college routine.
Less likely to be discussed is the importance of money management. But the average college
student spends nearly $3,000 for various expenses beyond tuition, according to the College
Good financial habits learned early will serve the student throughout his or her
college years and well beyond, says Rich Linsday, president of the Society of Financial Service
Professionals. He offers the following tips to help parents and their college-bound
* Begin with the basics. Begin early to ensure your child knows the basics of
maintaining balances for checkbook and savings accounts, ATM fees, debit cards and such.
* Discuss expectations – both yours and your child's. Work with your son or daughter to
develop a reasonable budget. If you're planning to send money to help subsidize day-to-day
expenses, this is also a good time to discuss any rules regarding how money is to be spent.
* Consider on-campus versus off-campus housing. For most, dormitory living is more
economical than off-campus apartments, many of which require 12-month leases. But if you choose
off-campus housing, shared apartments can reduce expenses.
* Plan for dining arrangements. Evaluate the pros and cons of campus meal plans and
off-campus cooking or dining out. Many parents appreciate that campus meal plans have set costs,
which is helpful when trying to develop a budget. Campus meal plans also save students the time of
shopping, cooking and cleaning up, and save more money than dining at a restaurant.
* Prepare for incidental expenses. Some parents are comfortable letting their
child use a credit card for whatever needs come up, while others prefer to limit credit cards for
emergencies. Because credit card debt can so easily add up, many parents choose to give their
student a lump sum of money at the beginning of each semester or send a monthly check.
* Stay organized. Whether your student pays cash, writes checks or uses a card, careful
recording of expenses will help your child stay within budget. And such discipline has rewards far
For more information, visit www.financialpro.org.