1. Track your cash.
To be fiscally fit you need to know how much goes in and out
of your account. Keep monthly records of your spending and
2. Get organized.
Keep ATM transaction receipts, bills, purchases and tax
records organized together in labeled files. This will help
you stay on track with your budget and make it easier when
it's time to pay bills.
3. Shop second hand.
Buy used books. Used books are usually in good condition and
cost about half the price of new books. If you can curb the
desire for all new flashy items in favor of reliable
practical ones with a bit of a history, you'll be ahead of
4. Keep the car home.
The insurance, maintenance and gas will eat you alive. Most
university towns are compact and everything you need will be
within walking distance of campus. If some of your friends
have a car, great--let them cover the expense.
5. Look for student discounts.
Take advantage of the perks offered to students. Be on the
lookout for deals on plane tickets, pizza, books,
clothes--everything. The student newspaper is a good place to
start. The Internet can be a gold mine of discounts.
6. Get smart about credit.
Credit cards are not magic money; they're a loan with an
obligation to repay. Don't spend more than you can afford to
pay back. Get a card with a low limit. Shop around for the
best deal and read the fine print before signing up.
7. Live within your means.
Don't buy what you can't afford. Don't eat out all the time.
Pack a lunch. This will save you big bucks. Don't eat
regularly at fast-food restaurants because it will reduce
your bank account while packing on the extra pounds.
8. Smart spending equals savings.
Find inexpensive ways to entertain yourself. Visit museums,
parks or read at the coffeehouse, check out sales racks,
consignment shops, cut coupons or search the Internet. If you
do a little research, you will save money.
9. Protect Yourself
Don't be a victim of fraud or identity theft. Guard your
credit card, PIN and account numbers. Buy a shredder so you
can dispose of statements, receipts and bills properly.
10. Pay Attention
Read your bills and statements each month. This helps you
keep track of your spending, alerts you to fraud and any
mistakes that may occur on your account. If you move, inform
the bank of your new address. Guard your credit card number
and close unused accounts.
11. Get the best deal on a checking account.
Shop around before opening a checking account. Smaller banks
may offer a better deal. Compare fees. Ask if there's a fee
for dealing with a teller, including deposits or withdrawals.
Ask if there's a fee to use a debit card. Ask about ATM fees.
Ask if overdraft protection is part of the student package.
If not, ask about linking such coverage to a bank-issued
12. Start Saving.
Open a savings account. Establish a savings plan and kick in
a little money each week. Stick with it. Compound interest is
a wonderful thing and it's always wise to have a little extra
13. Bonus tip: Don't be dumb!
Some expenses can be easily avoided. Things like parking
fines, overdue library books, and late fees are controllable
by simply reading signs and following the rules