Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Save for the Future: High School to College

While in high school, saving money is not the top concern for many students. High school students don’t have to worry about bills, tuition, or other expenses that are sprung upon them once they enter college. Learning about financing and budgeting at an early age will come in handy when you are advancing in your life and career. Even if you are starting late, it is a good idea to make a budget and keep track of your finances, even if you are still in high school.

Get The App
A good budgeting app can help you keep track of finances and help find areas where you can cut back. Some of the most popular apps include:
  • Mint - Mint connects your bank account and automatically inputs purchases. This feature helps you spend less time entering every purchase, which is one of the hardest parts of keeping a budget.
  • Toshl - Toshl Finance is an app that makes banking simple with setting up a monthly budget. Toshl’s budgeting section has you set a max line for the month, that will give you a great view of how close you are coming to going over your set budget for the month.
  • Left to Spend - Left to Spend is as simple as it gets when it comes to a budget for the month. All you need to do is set a budget and then simply subtract from there.

Learn the Tricks
College is all about adapting to your new surroundings, learning on the fly, and stretching your budget. To stretch your dollar a little further, try some of these simple tricks:
  • Rent textbooks or sell them back at the end of the semester
  • Walk, use public transportation or ride a bike instead of using your car. Protip: Many college students ride public transportation for free with their student ID cards
  • Check your favorite stores for student discounts - many offer them
  • Look into a campus gym versus a gym in town
  • When planning meals, make dinner with friends and split the cost of groceries
  • Don’t buy unnecessary school supplies. Why buy notebooks when you can type on your laptop
  • Wait to get a pet until after college – a pet can become very expensive
  • Don’t borrow more than you need. Most often, the amount you qualify for is more than you will spend in a semester - if you’re responsible
Invest Wisely
Even the best budgeting habits sometimes aren’t enough to pay for the mountain of expenses that come with attending college, and many need to take out student loans. A good choice for students is St. Cloud Federal Credit Union’s student loans. Loans from a credit union like St. Cloud Federal offer students lower interest rates, flexible payment plans, no organization fees, more. Students can qualify for lower rates based on their grades - the better the grades the lower the rate! And if ten percent of the loan is repaid within the repayment period, the interest rate will be reduced by one percent.

Need a cosigner? Most students do. But once you graduate and make 24 consecutive payments on the principle balance, you have the option to release your cosigner, which is good news for them and helps you build your credit. You can borrow as little $2,000, or up to $120,000 for undergraduate loans - up to $160,000 for graduate loans.

Check out our Q&A page for more information, or get started on the loan process through St. Cloud Federal Credit Union.

Saving or your college career might seem like an impossible feat. It’s not impossible, you just might need a little help to get you started. That’s exactly what we like to do - help people realize their dreams.

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