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Money matters

Between classes, jobs, extracurricular activities and social lives, managing finances sometimes gets put on the back burner. Here are some tips to help students save, manage and grow their money. by Haley Luke photos by Dan Duncan


ake up late. Brush teeth. Run out the door. Go to class. Forget lunch. Swipe credit card at Blimpie. Rent Redbox movie. Forget to turn movie in for a week. Buy $50 video game. Finish it in a week. Buy another $50 video game. Get new tennis shoes. Skip a shift at work to finish video game. Get a $1.75 soda from the vending machine everyday for a week. Overdraft account. Pay $25 overdraft fee. As a student, it can be hard to get by financially. Taking a full-time class load makes it difficult to work more than 15 hours a week, and even then, it’s only for minimum wage. Sarah Tetley, the director of first year experience programs at Webster University, says many students don’t realize where their money goes. The first thing any student should do is determine how much money they have coming in and how much they will have going out. “Sit down and write out where the money is going. Every last penny. Until you do that, you’re not going to be able to see good and bad patterns,” says Tetley. “Then get a better, realistic expectation of what you want and what you need.” Swiping a credit card here and there may seem okay, but without understanding what effects it can have on a credit score, debt can rack up quickly and unexpectedly. Teddy Key, junior film production major, says students should only have one credit card and use it sparingly. Remember, a credit card is nonexistent money that has to be paid back. “I don’t buy things I can’t afford, and I pay off my credit card every month as soon as the bill gets in or as soon as I have the money,” says Key. When trying to figure out how to pay for dinner, long-term savings may not always be in the forefront of some students’ minds. Tetley says that regularly adding to a savings account is an important habit students have to get into. Savings accounts are available through banks and can have a high interest rate. These kinds of accounts should be accessed after a student gets used to saving and knows that they won’t need the money out of the account for a long period of time. Tetley says that though it is important to have a job and a paycheck, work experience is essential for the future. “If people aren’t employed on or off campus and are just strictly going to school, I think sometimes that prevents them from getting skill sets for the future,” says Tetley. “I think that working for a paycheck, income or internship and getting experience… will boost your income when you graduate.”

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