As a rising college senior I can still remember the summer before freshman year, planning almost every detail of how I believed my freshman year would go. Sure I had a meal plan, my rent settled, and the majority of my living necessities accounted for. There still remained a looming question over my head about how I would pay my other expenses. These expenses mainly revolved around the (unnecessary) trips to the mall, times when I knew I could not stand to eat in the cafeteria one more day, and funds for a social life. I had kept a part-time job throughout high school, though had poorly planned to save any money for when I would take off traveling 500 miles to college and have no new means of income.
Amongst making friends at school, we quickly all bonded over having an empty bank account. Another similarity most of us had in common was that this was the first time we had to handle our own finances and bank account. Besides the possibility that we may have been lectured by our parents or taken an introduction course on personal finance, budgeting and keeping track of our money was a new idea.
I knew I needed to get a part-time job to maintain my bank account and current lifestyle. In my three years at school so far I have worked as a sales associate, a waitress, a student caller in the admissions office and a fundraiser. I have found that holding a part-time job doesn’t only benefit me for the financial aspect, but it helps me prioritize my schedule and take time away from opportunities to spend money. My tip for students looking to work part-time is to start first by looking on campus. These jobs are usually flexible, understanding and align exactly with your academic calendar.
As an incoming college freshman, your smartphone may turn out to be the most useful item you’ve packed. This will be your key to everything including looking up a quick fact before a test, emailing professors, texting your roommate that you locked yourself out, and even—yes—your finances.
Your bank may have an app that you can download which can make your hectic student life easier. As a student you will start to realize getting around on campus is a struggle of everyday life. Knowing that, you might not have time to run to the bank to deposit a check or check your balance. Luckily most banks offer an app which will come with many features that allow you to not even move an inch to get your banking done. Need to pay a bill? You can use the app for that. It is simple, fast and you don’t have to talk to anyone. Another feature I find to come in really handy is the Person-to-Person payments. Wells Fargo and most U.S. major bank customers can send each other money online with just an email or mobile number. This is useful for paying your friends back for gas, concert tickets, splitting the check or whatever it may be.
Since keeping track of your finances is a new idea to many incoming freshman, it can be overwhelming. The app is user friendly, and you can constantly monitor your statement from your phone. Transferring money from your checking to savings is easy, and is a great tool to use when you are working to save up for that spring break trip or flight home. Make sure to go to campus prepared and ready to learn, not worrying about your finances or running errands to the bank.