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Ways to Prepare for College Financially
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Student Contributor
Posted October 28, 2016
Be responsible for your life
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As you begin college, there are many new responsibilities to take on. Your social security number should be memorized and your card stored in a safe place. It is imperative to know your healthcare insurance information. In college you will have to get to class on time without help and you will be the one to ensure you go to the doctor when you do not feel well. This is a time of increased independence, as well as new responsibilities. You are now an adult and will be held accountable for your actions.
Know your account information
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In college there are many things that you will have to purchase on your own: food, clothes, housing, books, and school supplies. It would be wise to open an account at a financial institution close to your school, or know a local ATM you can use surcharge free.
Begin Building Credit
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A person’s credit score will affect most financial decisions in their life. It will be very beneficial to start a positive credit history while you’re still in school. The credit score you develop in college will affect your first car loan after graduation, the house you want to buy, and even your future employment. Someone who has good credit has more options in life financially.
Know how you are paying for school
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Paying for school is a very big deal. As a student, you should know how you’re paying for school especially since schools charge you based on how many classes you take.  If you take out loans, be aware of the amount and which types of loans you're using. There are loans through the government and there are private loans: subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans.  Subsidized loans will not accrue interest until after you graduate. Unsubsidized loans will accrue interest while you are still in school. Interest rates will also affect how much money you pay in the end so be aware of them. Don’t put off your loan education until you graduate. Eventually, you will have to pay back all of this money so it is important to know your loan situation.
Don’t let your parents do everything for you
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College is a time to learn about yourself and grow. While it can be hard at first to become independent, it’s necessary. One of the first steps you can take is to create a budget for your income and expenses. Educate yourself about banking and personal finances. Don’t fall for scams, because unfortunately many target college students. Be aware of when to give out personal information, and when to withhold it.
Save up!
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College is expensive. Life is expensive. Saving money and having an emergency fund is a necessity. You never know what is going to happen in life, and it’s good to be prepared. Starting to save at a young age can set you up for a successful future. It is recommended to save about 10-plus percent of your income, and to set a limit on what you spend per month. It is okay to bring your piggy bank to college. Save up that loose change because every penny counts. Always look for deals and explore the savings options at your financial institution. Adulthood brings bigger and bigger bills, but if you save a lot of your money right now it will help you in the future.
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