Your money is a huge part of your life. It can determine what you can do and where you can go. Learning how to manage your money the right way is an important step toward taking control of your life. Making sacrifices and wise money management decisions while in school will help prevent the need to live like a college student after graduation. Always remember the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Work and save as much as possible to keep student loans to a minimum. Students who need a credit card should shop for one with no annual fee, a balance limit of $500 or less, use it only for emergencies and pay the entire balance each month.
A budget is your first step in managing your money. Creating a budget will help you determine your expenses and estimate your total available income. There are numerous budgeting strategies available to make this process easier, excel spreadsheets and online budgeting tools.
A tool which you may wish to utilize is Grad Ready. It’s a money management website that has engaging videos and tools covering real-world topics such as paying for college, credit, student loans and identity theft. This service is free for you to use, and because Grad Ready is online, it is right at your fingertips when your busy schedule permits. Check it out! bemidjistate.gradready.com
While student loans may be a part of financing your education, consider two things before you borrow:
- how much you need to cover your educational costs, and;
- how much your monthly loan payments will be after you leave school.
Determine how much you actually need to borrow before you request the loan.
Any loan listed on your award notice is only an indicator of what you are eligible to borrow and not what you are required to borrow. It indicates the maximum allowable amount that you can borrow from federal student loans; you can always borrow less. Remember, you can borrow at any time throughout the school year and request additional loan, if needed, at a later date. Some helpful hints for borrowing money:
- Only borrow what you need.
- Keep a record of all your loans.
- If you are borrowing a loan that accrues interest while in school, make interest payments (if possible).
- Start making payments on your loan as soon as you can; even during school (if possible).
- Notify your loan servicer if any of your contact information changes.
- If you are unable to make your monthly payment, contact your loan servicer immediately for assistance.
- When paying for your education, the main goal should be to keep your debt to a minimum.
You can view your Federal Direct Student Loan records online at NSLDS.