Heading to a college campus this back-to-school season is an exciting, yet sometimes challenging experience. For many college students, this will be the first time they manage money on their own, and at times, it can be overwhelming. To help minimize financial stress and ensure a smooth transition to campus, check out these financial planning tips that you can easily implement to set yourself up for a successful school year.  

Estimate Expenses  

To start financial planning for college, the initial step is to thoroughly examine your expenses in order to determine a suitable budget. This can be accomplished by identifying your annual income. Make sure to include income like scholarships, loans, and other resources, not just income from employment. You will then want to list out your fixed monthly costs such as housing, subscriptions, memberships, groceries, dining, and others. 

If you are looking for a secure place to keep your income and easily pay bills, learn more about the checking accounts Banterra offers.  

Establish A Budget 

You can use your income total and your estimated monthly costs to evaluate how much you will have to spend each month on other items that are not included in your monthly budget. Sticking to a financial plan will help avoid financial stress throughout the year, as you will be comforted in knowing that you should have money for any unexpected expense that may arise. 

Create An Emergency Fund  

An emergency fund is an amount of cash that you have put aside into a savings account that can help you with unplanned expenses or emergencies. Maintaining an emergency fund can serve as a safeguard against relying on credit cards when these expenses occur. To establish your emergency fund, incorporate the amount you want to save into your monthly budget, so you accumulate an adequate amount of money in your account for potential needs. 

Learn more about Banterra’s savings account options to determine which will benefit your emergency fund needs best.  

Be Cautious Of Credit Card Debt  

Credit cards can be a helpful tool as you embark on this new chapter in your life, but it is important to make smart financial decisions when it comes to using your credit card. Because of the high costs of tuition and other college expenses, many college students are leaving college with thousands of dollars of debt, and you do not want to add a large amount of credit card debt on top of that. If used responsibly, a credit card can help you build your credit. To do so effectively, be sure to always make payments on time and only spend what you can afford to pay back.  

Complete The FAFSA And Apply For Scholarships  

As you prepare to head to campus, don’t forget to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You should fill out this form each year, even prospective students, to help identify if you are eligible to receive financial aid for your tuition. This eligibility is required for certain scholarships, grants, and loans. It’s free and easy to fill out, so be sure that you have this on your to-do list each year.  

Scholarships are another fantastic way to receive money to help you pay for college, especially since they will not need to be repaid. Apply for scholarships early and apply for them often. The more scholarship money you receive, the smaller chance you will leave college with debt.  

If you, or someone you know plans to attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU), learn more about the Banterra-SIU Scholarship Fund created as an additional way to support student’s futures and the university through our partnership. Each swipe of our Banterra-SIU Saluki Visa® Debit Card contributes to this scholarship fund. Click here for more information our partnership with SIU. 

As you are packing and getting ready to head to campus, utilize these helpful financial planning tips to set yourself up for success as a college student. If you have any questions about our available banking products that can help you throughout your college career, please contact our team so we can help you find the solution that will suit your needs. The team at Banterra Bank wishes you good luck in your future endeavors.