Many colleges are getting ready to begin the fall semester (if they haven’t already), and if your young adult is about to go away for the first time, it can be pretty scary for you. One of the greatest concerns you are probably facing for your student is how well that adult is going to handle finances. Here are a few things you can do to help make sure you won’t have to step in on a regular basis.
Student Credit Cards
College students are now finally able to get credit cards, but freshmen may not quite mange them as responsibly as they should. A card that is designed for young adults just building credit will come with a lower spending limit. They also tend to offer a lower APR and no annual fees. It gives your freshmen the chance to learn how to use a credit card without costing you a small fortune.
Spending Time Helping Budget
Before your new college kid gets out the door for the first semester, take the time to sit down and carve out a budget. Make sure they have a regularly scheduled date set for paying bills (or two or three days) and that it is saved to their calendar and phone. If they have a reminder that they control, you won’t have to spend as much time remembering to remind them to pay their bills.
Talk about Money
Most of us parents tend to take care of bills and expenses without really including our kids. When they leave for college, they really aren’t prepared for everything that comes with being an adult. Besides sitting down and budgeting, make sure you talk about money, that your freshman understand how loans and credit work, and the student knows how to balance a checkbook. It may not be the most entertaining talk, but it is certain to be one of the most valuable.
Point out Your Mistakes
While our son isn’t quite there yet, I already know exactly what mistakes I am going to talk about to help persuade him not to do the same things that I did. By talking about where you went wrong, your child will see that mistakes aren’t just statistics. Kids like to prove that they can do things without our help, so this gives them a goal to show that they are better prepared than you were. At the least, it helps make them more aware of how they should be spending their money.