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100 Personal Finance Posts Every College Student Needs to Read

March 23rd, 2010

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By Angela Martin

You learn a lot in college about essay writing, good communication, leadership and even napping, but what about the basics of personal finance? From your meal card to your tuition, it’s easy to lose track of the real value of money and how to manage it. These 100 posts will explain everything to you that you’re not learning in college, from setting up a budget, to splitting up your first paycheck and learning how to save.

Starting a Budget

Find budget tools and guides for forecasting your expenses every week and semester.

  1. 4 Rules to Budget By: You’ll find smart, logical tips for budgeting, like "give every dollar a job."
  2. Budget Worksheet for Teens: This smart guide works for college students, too.
  3. Free MicroFrugality Budgeting Spreadsheet: This blog shares a Google docs budgeting spreadsheet and instructions on how to use it.
  4. 33 Debt-Reducing, Money-Saving Calculators for the Newly Frugal: This large list contains calculators to help you budget payments, food, entertainment and more.
  5. Money management tips for college students: Tips here encourage you to track numbers, set up a plan, and look ahead.
  6. Money Saving Tips for College Students on a Budget: Here you will find ideas to budget for food, tuition, books, and fun.
  7. 25 Smart Budget and Money Saving Tips for College Students: The number one tip here is to remember that you’re a college student, and not expect to live like a corporate banker.
  8. 27 Money Tips for College Students: This post is organized into different categories including money management, planning, campus life and personal life.
  9. 25 Free Budgeting and Finance Tools for Students and Grads: This is another list full of budgeting tools for debt management, student loans, student discounts, and more.
  10. 27 Money Tips for College Students: This post is organized into different categories including money management, planning, campus life and personal life.
  11. 25 Free Budgeting and Finance Tools for Students and Grads: This is another list full of budgeting tools for debt management, student loans, student discounts, and more.

Loans

Read these posts to learn about different types of loans and financial aid, and your options for paying them back.

  1. Student Loans Driving Your Career?: Take a look at this post which comments on an article about students accepting jobs that pay their student loans, even if they are unsatisfying.
  2. Understanding a Debt Consolidation Loan: Let this post explain how a debt consolidation loan works, and whether or not you should use it.
  3. 10 Things You Should Know Before You Get an Auto Loan: Before showing up to the car dealership, read this post so you’ll know how to get financed.
  4. Student Loan Shopping Tips: Find out what the safest types of loans are here.
  5. Apply for Scholarships, Not Loans!: Learn about the different types of scholarships you can apply for instead of acquiring loans and debt.
  6. Ways to Save on Private Student Loan Repayment: Learn about rate reductions and consolidations here.
  7. Your Options for Paying Back Your Student Loans: Read this post to learn about different ways you can repay loans.

Credit Cards

These posts explain the Credit Card Act, minimum payments, the benefits of credit cards, and when to stop using them.

  1. What you Need to Know About the Credit Card Act: This post outlines the new Credit Card Act, which went into effect in February 2010.
  2. Credit Cards and the Minimum Payment – Don’t Fall Into the Minimum Payment Trap: This post explains how minimum payments are calculated and why you should pay as much as you can, if not the entire balance.
  3. I Can’t Get Approved for a Credit Card! How do I Build Credit?: Find out how to build credit from the beginning.
  4. 6 Ways to Knock Out Creditors: Learn how to deal with credit card companies and debt collectors.
  5. Credit Card Savvy: Plastic Tips for Students: This is a detailed article with good advice about monitoring credit card use, making payments and staying in touch with banks and issuers.
  6. Rate Chasing 101: Do you have the personality for it?: Find out how tricky and frustrating it can be to track rates.
  7. 10 Reasons Credit Cards are Good: Credit cards aren’t all bad: you just need to know how to use them appropriately.
  8. Credit Cards and Guns: This post will make you think: it compares the danger of guns to the danger of credit cards.
  9. 8 Tips to Keep Your Credit Card Information Safe Online: Many college students are rabid online shoppers, but this post tells you how to do it safely.
  10. Learn to build and manage credit, while you’re young: This post encourages you to understand how to achieve good credit early on.

General Debt

Educate yourself on the danger of debt and how to deal with it here.

  1. Warning Sign: Are You in Too Much Debt?: This post includes red flags that may signal your debt is out of control.
  2. The Debt Generation: This post explains exactly why debt weakens your personal finances and the whole economy.
  3. The Bondage of a Debt Financed Lifestyle: Read this article so that you’re not tempted to live off your credit card.
  4. 10 Steps I Used to Get Out of Debt: Learn how to get out of debt without relying on credit cards and other traps.
  5. The 5 Worst Forms of Debt: Educate yourself now so that you avoid these pitfalls.

Saving Basics

Saving is more than putting your pennies in a piggy bank. These posts will teach you about emergency funds and clever ways to save even more.

  1. Emergency Savings Fund: Why, How Much and Where?: You can start adding to your emergency fund now so that you’re already set up upon graduation.
  2. 25 Ways to Save Money: This list should inspire you to cut spending and start saving in new ways.
  3. Four Simple Tips for Saving Money in College: From breaking bills to always shopping sales, you’ll be able to save sensibly.
  4. 5 dollars really adds up!: This post starts with a story about a lady who saved all of her $5 bills for three years and saved $12,000.
  5. 118 Ways to Save Money in College: From alcohol to computers, you’ll learn how to save here.
  6. Saving Money: 50 Tips for College Students: Categories here include college expenses, transportation and textbooks.
  7. Start Saving Money Today: This post highlights 5 ways that you can start a savings plan.
  8. Ready for Extreme Saving? Money Saving Advice for an Extreme Economy: You can use this advice any time you’re feeling the pinch, especially during college, in between jobs or during a rough economy.
  9. Savings Experiment: Are student services cheaper and better?: A popular way to save money on haircuts and dentist’s appointments is to visit schools or clinics run by students. Here is an overview of the quality of student services at culinary schools, massage schools and more.

Frugal Living

College students are forced to be creative with their budgeting and spending, and these posts are full of good ideas for frugal living.

  1. Your Car is Making You Poor and What You Can Do About It: This post goes over financing, insurance, gas, maintenance and car buying basics so that you’re not wasting money.
  2. 10 Ways to Cut Back and Still Look Good: Here are 10 ways to save on spending without looking like you don’t take care of yourself.
  3. Know When to Shop to Save Money: Learn how to avoid emotional spending here.
  4. How to Get In Shape and Save Money: Besides using your campus gym, here are other ways to work out on the cheap.
  5. How to make moonshine: To save on alcohol costs, learn how to make your own moonshine. There are also links to making your own beer and wine.
  6. 10 Ways for College Students to Cut Costs Where it Counts: Learn how to cut costs on coffee, booze, and water.
  7. 9 Tips to Stretch the Life of Common Household Items: Cut down on frequent purchases of ink cartridges, sneakers, bras, and razor blades when you read this post.
  8. Curb Your Consumerism: This post has tips for shopping less and shopping smarter.
  9. 10 Budget Tips for Hungry College Students: You don’t have to eat nothing but ramen in college. Here you’ll find tips for saving even when you eat out and shop at the grocery store.
  10. Mostly Clean and Mostly Sober: This post looks at the cost of drinking too much alcohol, even if you’re not getting drunk.
  11. How I Save $4,000/year: Read this post before graduating so that you’re prepared to budget for a paycheck that’s going to be taxed to death.
  12. Saving Money at University and Saving Money Tips for Students: Learn how to save on rent, textbooks and more.
  13. Money Saving Tips for Shopping: From buying kids sizes to using your student or business discount, these tips will add up.
  14. Living the Minimalist Lifestyle: Find out what it takes — and how you’ll benefit — to live a minimalist lifestyle.
  15. Wine Markups in Restaurants: Here you can read another reason it’s a good idea to pregame.
  16. Life in Grad School Doesn’t Have to Suck…All Your Money: College and grad school students learn how to curb spending here.

Taxes

Take a look at the posts below to get the basics on tax prep, fees, auditing and more.

  1. How to Save When Filing Your Taxes and Prevent Penalties: Here you will learn how to avoid penalties and other fees and expenses.
  2. 2009 Turbo Tax Review: If you’re thinking about using Turbo Tax to file, read this post first.
  3. Do You Have to Pay Taxes on eBay Sales?: Before selling all your old furniture and textbooks on eBay, read this post.
  4. How to Avoid and Prepare for a Tax Audit by the IRS: Keep your finances organized and legitimate to avoid getting audited.
  5. 6 Tips to Help You Pay Off Your IRS Tax Debt: If you owe money to the IRS, you’ll need to follow these directions.

Income

Here you will learn ways to earn extra money, split up your first real paycheck, find a part-time job, and more.

  1. 52 Ways to Make Extra Money: From delivering pizzas to cleaning houses to driving people to the airport, this list is full of good ideas for extra cash.
  2. 55 Marketable Hobbies that you Love and Can Get Paid For: Ideas in this list include dog walking, growing and selling produce, and web design.
  3. Six Streams of Income: Here are examples of six potentially lucrative streams of income for now and in the future.
  4. Reasons You Do Not Have a Job This Summer: If you’re wondering why you couldn’t get an internship or summer job, read this list to prepare for next year.
  5. Earning Power: A Visual Survey of 80 Occupations: This large post surveys different jobs and different cities, and shows you how you can change your earnings power.
  6. The Secret to Finding a Part-time Job in Tough Economic Times: Find out how to be competitive in the job market, even in a recession.
  7. 4 Old School Money Hacks: If you don’t have time for an extra job, try out one of these old school ways for collecting money.
  8. Is Six Figures Really That Much?: Here you’ll learn why how much you earn is all relative.
  9. What to do with your first paycheck: This article will walk you through all the steps you need to take to break up your first paycheck, including paying yourself.
  10. 5 ways to stretch your paycheck: This post explains how to understand your true income.
  11. 6 Ways to Boost Your Income in a Big Way: Consider getting a roommate or sharing knowledge online or through tutoring.

Smart Habits

Discover smart money habits that will help you budget, save and spend wisely.

  1. Do Debit Cards Separate You From Your Money Emotionally?: Learn why using cash — or at least rethinking the way you use your debit card — could save you lots of money.
  2. 10 Things You Must Do After College: You’ll learn why you need to keep renting, set up a Roth IRA and get a better credit card.
  3. Grad Money Matters: Make Your Paperwork Work for You: Read this post to get a head start on organizing receipts, contracts and more.
  4. Your emergency fund: What qualifies as an emergency?: Pizza runs do not count as an emergency. Find out when it’s okay to dip into your emergency fund here.
  5. The Single Most Financial Step: Find out how you can start the journey to better financial management.
  6. Investing in Your Most Valuable Asset – Invest in Yourself: By eating better, getting regular check-ups, and building your personal brand, you’ll save money and boost your net worth.
  7. My Semi-Success in Living One Raise Behind: Learn why it’s important to live according to the paycheck you received before your raise.
  8. The Ultimate Financial Survival Guide for New College Students: Here you can read a post that shares what you need to do to be responsible (financially) in college.
  9. No More "I Can’t Afford That": Get tips on prioritizing your money.
  10. Want to keep more money? Obey the law!: This post reminds you that speeding, parking illegally and cheating the government are expensive.
  11. 10 Life and Money Lessons Learned from Immigrant Parents: This is a great article with tips like "Trust your family, be wary of everyone else" and "You are not defined by your job or fame."

Personal Finance Goals

These posts will teach you about goal-setting, so that your personal finance future is always secure.

  1. Do you have money left over each month?: Budgeting so that you have left overs should be a top goal.
  2. 6 Steps to Get Back on the Right Financial Track: If you feel like you’re losing control over your finances, pay down your credit cards, find additional sources of income, and pay in cash.
  3. Overspending to blame for missed savings goals: It may sound obvious, but one of the main reasons people miss their savings goals is because they keep spending too much.
  4. A Financial Management Guide for New Graduates: Here you can get tips on budgeting, student loans and more.
  5. Your Financial Success Depends on the Clarity of Your Goals: Here you can learn how to set attainable goals and "the ultimate goal" in terms of personal finance.
  6. Getting Motivated to Organize Your Finances: In this post, you’ll learn how to create financial goals.
  7. Money and Wellness: Setting Goals: Learn three important laws for setting goals.

Miscellaneous

From finding out how long you need to keep financial documents to getting a realistic ROI on grad school, here are more personal finance posts that are ideal for college students and young professionals.

  1. Why Graduate Degrees Are a Rip Off: Crunching the Numbers: Before applying to grad school, find out if the ROI on that MBA is worth it.
  2. Financial Risk Test: Take this test to see how financially prepared you are for an emergency.
  3. How Long Should You Keep Financial Documents?: Make sure you don’t throw important documents away too quickly.
  4. 15 Free Online Accounting Courses for Self-Learners: If you’re not a math or business major, it may be more challenging for you to manage your finances. Take these free courses to understand your money better.
  5. Money in English: The perils of young adult identity theft: Find out what it means to have your identity stolen when you’re still very young.
  6. Knowing When to Walk Away: Financial Planning for an Unknown Ending: This post explains why focusing on saving a certain amount of money before you retire will make you lose sight of what’s important in life.
  7. Can you afford to follow your dreams? Can you afford NOT to?: You may think that you don’t have the money to go back to school or try out your own business, but this post encourages you to crunch the numbers and find a way.
  8. 12 Best Songs About Money EVER: This is a fun post that includes songs by Kenny Rogers, Puff Daddy and Aerosmith.

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