Healthy financial habits for students

by Rachel Taylor

Gull Life Editor

As a college student balancing studying and a social life leaves us little time to worry about things like balancing a checkbook.

But keeping track of personal finances is less daunting than it seems according to Professor Brian Twilley.

Twilley, who currently teaches personal finances in the Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University, believes students should focus on creating a budget and keeping track of all expenses.

“I think some kids don’t pay attention to what they have and don’t have a simple budget,” Twilley said. “But a majority do know what they have and are paying attention.”

By having a plan to look at it is less likely for someone to overspend.

With new technology many banks offer online banking along with mobile apps for easy access to statements instead of having to wait for a monthly statement in the mail.

Twilley sees this as the new method of balancing a checkbook as it is an easy way to look at pending transactions and current balances.

“I always survey the class to see who balances their checkbook and nobody does,” Twilley said. “At first glance, I thought that was a sign of your young irresponsibility but then I realized everyone’s using their phones and using the apps. You can call it what you want but you’re paying attention to what’s going on and that’s important.”

Students should also begin to build credit while they are in school so they are able to purchase things such as house or car. About 84 percent of students have at least one credit card, according to College Parents of America.

“I advise students to get credit cards,” Twilley said. “To establish credit at a young age and learning how to use it and pay it off helps you get set up for the real world. I’m a believer in using credit cards but you need to keep track of it and pay it off every month.”

As for saving money, students should keep it simple.

“Put cash into a savings account,” Twilley said. “You have student loans so you don’t have a lot of money. When you get out of college it is best to save your money and live on as little as possible. Have six months of living expenses tucked away and then start looking at investments. ”

By creating healthy financial habits in college, those habits should carry over into young adulthood.

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