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College countdown: How to get your money in order

By Crystal Trotter
Community Outreach and Education Representative

If you’re starting college in the fall, your countdown has probably begun.

You’ll likely face many new opportunities (and expenses). So, before your new adventure begins, it can be helpful to create a plan for your money.

These eight steps can help set you up for financial success during your college years—and beyond.

8 steps to take during your college countdown

Save for fun

Start a You-Name-It Savings account for the fun stuff you’ll do. Start small. Maybe you put $5–$10 a paycheck toward this account all summer.

Save for textbooks

Start another You-Name-It Savings account for textbooks. You’ll thank yourself later for not paying for them with student loan money.

Shop around for books

Textbooks can set you back hundreds of dollars each semester. As soon as you have your class schedule, look up your books online at places like Amazon, Chegg and your school bookstore. Compare buying versus renting. And make sure you have the correct book by searching by its ISBN (International Standard Book Number).

Have the money talk

If you haven’t already, talk with your parents about who’s responsible for paying for your college expenses. Be open, so everyone knows what to expect. You don’t want any surprises!

Consider a side gig

If you’d like to make some money while going to school, use this time to review your options:

  • Off-campus jobs: If you go this route, look for jobs that are conveniently located and work well with your class schedule.
  • Work-study programs: You might be able to make some money with a job on campus.

Start a budget

Remember to pay yourself first and save for the exciting college semesters ahead. Need help? You can request a free Dupaco Money Makeover before your first day of school.

Be realistic about a vehicle

Do you need a vehicle at college? Depending on your campus and off-campus schedule, you might be able to save money by hitching a ride with friends.

Talk about credit

Have a credit card conversation with us. Learn the do’s and don’ts of credit cards and how we can help you boost your credit score for the long haul. This can help you get better loan rates and more down the road.