Take Charge of Your Life and Your Money
Have a plan! Define your financial goals. What do you want out of life? To graduate debt-free? To save money for a house or a new car? Make plans to reach your goals. Best Financial Tools
Take Action Reach Your Goals
Take action until your goals become a reality. Save money Make payroll deductions, save bonus income, use a savings account.
Control Your Spending
Create a simple spending plan. Think of a budget as your financial map. It tells you how much money you have coming in, where you must spend it, and how much you can save. Best Financial Tools
Remember to Save Money for Fun Things
Pay for big expenses as soon as you get your paycheck. Then determine how much you have to save and how much you have to spend.
Take an hour to create a filing system to help keep track of financial paperwork and other documents Bill Payments, Savings & Investments, Loans & Credit Records, Taxes, etc. Track all bill due dates in one place. Know how long to keep documents. Chart for How Long to Keep Financial Documents
Keep Track of Your Student Account
Your NCard offers you convenience that comes with responsibility. Its so easy to lose track of how much you are spending. Little things add up! Information about the NCard Campus Account
Protect Your Personal Information
Be cautious about giving out your social security number and credit card and bank account numbers online. Make sure the website is secure. Also, keep track of statements and receipts and shred them when you dont need them anymore.
Be Proactive About Identity Theft
Copy the fronts & backs of all credit & debit cards and keep the copies in a safe location. This enables you to cancel the cards if they are lost or stolen. What to Do if Identity Theft Happens
Sounds Like Common Sense, But DO NOT Overdraw Your Account
Dont assume your account balance at the ATM is correct. Remember some purchases might take some time to appear on your account.
Keep Track of ATM Withdrawals
Dont waste money on overdraft charges!
Identify Wants vs. Needs
You probably understand food is a need and a latte is a want. But some mornings, a latte is sure to feel like a need. Maybe coffee is a need but gourmet coffee drinks are a want. Wants vs. Needs: A One Day Chronicle
Become a Better Saver
Make your money work for you. Any money you save grows. Start by teaching yourself to save money in small increments.
Pay Yourself First
Include savings as part of your spending plan. Automatically deduct money from your paycheck and put in a savings account.
Learn the Power of Compounding
Compounding means your money earns money and the earnings on your money earn money. Even if you only have a small amount of savings, the longer to let it earn compound interest, the more significant the results.
Become a Savvy Investor
Learn about your savings and investing options savings accounts, money market accounts, US savings bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), stocks, bonds, mutual funds. SEC Basic Investing Information
Know the Best Investors have an Investment Plan
Assess your risk tolerance and your investment goals. Talk to a trusted financial professional to help craft your investing plan.
Start Investing in College (if you can)
Start investing as soon as you can. Experts agree Roth IRAs are the best bang for your buck for young adults. When you reach retirement age, you may withdraw all the money 100% tax free.
Save Money for Unexpected Expenses
Avoid going into debt over medical bills, car & computer repairs, and unexpected trips. Look at the little things you buy and cut back. You wont even notice. Buying a pop every day is over $500 a year.
Avoid Money-Wasting Temptations
Take a certain amount of cash out for the weekend and dont spend any more than that. When shopping, make a list so you wont be tempted to buy extras.
Dont Let Car Expenses Drive You Crazy
Shop for the cheapest car insurance. Park your car in the cheapest lot on campus. Get routine car maintenance done on time to extend the life of your car and avoid car repairs.
Know What Tax Deductions You Qualify For
Come April, you want to know what deductions you can take to get a bigger refund. Education expenses, donations, etc. be prepared. Research if you will benefit more from taking the standard deduction or itemizing. (If these terms sound unfamiliar, talk to a trusted financial professional.) IRS Deductions Listing
Understand Your Financial Aid
Know what types of aid you have (grants, scholarships, student loans, work study). Know all the details. Keep all the important documents in a safe place. UNL Financial Aid Information
Be Smart About Student Loans
Before you accept a student loan, carefully review it. Make sure you know what you will have to repay and when. It adds up faster than you think! A good guideline for college students is to have no more than 10% of the expected monthly gross income from their first job going for repayment of all loans. 15% would mean you probably will not be able to buy a new car, and 20% is the start of the "danger zone" when loan debt is out of control. Create a Debt Repayment Plan
Only Borrow Whats Necessary
Student loans should only cover necessary costs like tuition, book, school supplies, etc. Know what your monthly student loan payments will be. This can help you keep borrowing to a minimum.
Keep Track of Your Obligations
Visit www.nsld.ed.gov to find out how much you owe and what your interest rates are. Student loans are a serious obligation that will affect your credit score.
Avoid Paying Interest
In general, max out your subsidized loan borrowing power before using unsubsidized loans.
Lower Interest Payments
If you have the money, make interest payments on unsubsidized loans while youre still in school.
Keep Your Financial Aid Documents
Know what you have to do to ensure your keep the money coming! For example, some scholarships require you to keep a certain GPA.
Keep Looking for Financial Aid
Keep applying for financial aid all the way through college. Ask about scholarships available to students in your major. Reapply for aid you didnt receive last year if your personal situation has changed, such as a sibling starting college.
Pay Close Attention to Financial Aid Deadlines
The most common mistake students make Mark important dates on your calendar!
Submit a New FAFSA Every Year & Do It Early
Complete a FAFSA even if you dont think you qualify you might be surprised. Do it as soon after January 1st as you can a lot of funding is first come, first serve.
Be Smart with Your Refund Check
Use your refund to pay off debt or save it to pay for expense throughout the semester. Remember this is actually additional debt, not a true refund.
Plan for Repaying Student Loans
Keep other debts low to help keep money available to pay off your student loans faster. Know your repayment plan options.
Only Use Credit if Its Good for You
Use credit only if you are certain you are able to repay the debt. Read all application materials carefully especially the fine print. Know what youre getting into. Know what fees you may be charged.
Be Smart When Choosing a Credit Card
Generally, look for a credit card with a low annual percentage rate and little to no annual cost. Always compare different credit cards and choose the best fit for you. Bankrate: Compare Credit Cards
Know the Introductory Interest Rate will Not Last
Credit card companies offer low introductory interest rates, some even 0% interest, in order to get you to sign up for their credit card. These rates do not last. Know how long introductory rate will last and what the rate is after that period.
Pay Your Bills on Time
Pay the entire balance to avoid paying interest. Check your monthly statement carefully to make sure all transactions are correct.
Understand Credit Card Lingo
Be aware of grace period. This is the period of time during which no interest is charge on purchases if you have no outstanding balance on the card. All About Credit Tutorial
Avoid Irresponsible Credit Management
1-2 cards are enough for college students. Any more than that youll have trouble keeping track of everything. If you feel you might be at risk of being irresponsible with credit, request your credit limit to be lowered.
Avoid Cash Advances
Generally, dont use cash advances its the easiest way to rack up fees and pay higher interest.
Know How to Create a Debt Repayment Plan
If you get over your head in debt, know how to handle it. Generally, experts agree a good strategy is to first cut spending on unnecessary items, put extra money toward the debt with the lowest balance, once that is paid off start paying down the next debt, and repeat the process until all debt is eliminated. Best Financial Tools
Know to Get Help When You Need It
If you feel youre sinking into debt and cant get out, talk to someone!
Know Why a Good Credit Score is So Important
Your credit score is an indicator of your use and repayment of borrowed money over time - a numerical value ranging from 300 to 850 - average of 700. If you have a low score, you will pay more for mortgages, loans, and insurance, and may be prevented from getting an apartment, and in some cases, even a job. FICO: Understanding Your Credit Score
Safe Way to Build Credit
A gas card is an easy way to establish credit. Charge only gas for an amount that you know you will be able pay off each in full and make your payments on time.
Make Payments on Time
The easiest way to establish your score.
Only Open Accounts You Need
If you open too many accounts, your credit score will go down. Dont open too many accounts at once.
Keep Debt Levels Low
Keep balances of credit cards under 30% of the total credit limit. Pay down revolving credit card accounts and pay consistently on installment type loans.
Monitor Your Credit Report
Credit scores being with the information from your credit report. Make sure this information is correct by requesting your report from www.annualcreditreport.com.
Fix a Bad Credit Score
If you had credit problems in the past, the best things to do to fix your score are: stop taking on debt, dont open new accounts, work to pay your debts down, and PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME!
Your Financial Future
Take Time to Prepare for Your Career
No matter how far off graduation seems to be, always attend con-campus interview and career fairs. Its never too early to hone your interview skills and networking is crucial to landing a job.
Know How Much You Will Make
Figure out the salary range for your chosen career. Look into jobs for different locations, compare and calculate costs of living. UNL Career Services Career Guide
Learn How to Analyze Benefits
Youll need to review retirement benefits, health care coverage, and other insurance. Remember to consider additional perks, such as tuition reimbursements. Taking all these factors into consideration will help you effectively compare job offers.
Start Investing in a 401K as Soon as You Can
If you invest in your employers 401K, they will match a percentage of the amount you contribute, which is FREE MONEY!
Talk to Your Parents About Money
Know what their expectations are for how you handle your money. Do they expect you to get a job? Know what you can expect of your parents are they and how much are they helping with your expenses.
Know the Difference Between a Bank & a Credit Union
A bank is a for-profit financial institution. A credit union is a non-profit financial institution in which the members own part of the credit union. Both offer most of the same services.
Find the Best Deal for Your Checking Account
Research banks and credit unions and see what they offer. Are there any special student accounts? What are the fees - overdraft, transfers, monthly fee? Is there a minimum balance required? What is the interest rate? Compare Checking Accounts
Make School Your First Job
Working doesnt have to interfere with your grades, but it does mean you have to manage your time carefully. Experts agree students shouldnt work more than 20 hours per week. Remember that school is your most important job and will give you the biggest payoff down the road.
Look for a Job On Campus
You dont have to travel away from campus, most have flexible hours, and you can find a job related to your major.
Be Prepared for Filling Out Job Paperwork
When you start a new job, you will have to fill out a W-4. The number you put on line 5 of the form is the number of exemptions you estimate youre entitled to in the coming year. The more allowances you take, the less income tax will be withheld from each paycheck. Generally, if you put down a 2, you will underpay your taxes and will owe the IRS money in April. If you put down a 1, you will probably pay the right amount. If you put down 0, you will pay the maximum all year and will get a refund when you file your taxes.
Biggest Money Waster Not Using Your Meal Plan
If you have a meal plan, limit eating out. This is the easiest way to waste money.
Resist Peer Pressure
If you are pressured by college friends to spend money you dont have, keep in mind your long-term goals in order to remind yourself that your money is going to more important things.
Know the Difference Between Good Debt & Bad Debt
Good debt is investing in something that will create value and build wealth, such as student loans. An example of bad debt is purchasing disposable items using high-interest credit cards & not paying the balance in full.
Learn How to Save Money
Many freshmen blow through their savings accounts during the first few months of their college careers. Take the time to avoid this use a spending plan will allow you to see how much money youll have for fun stuff. Realize you can cut back rather than eliminate spending in certain areas.
Compare the Cost of an Apartment vs. a Dorm Room Before You Move Off-Campus
You may or may not save money by moving out of the dorm. Costs for off-campus hosing add up quickly. Compare the costs for all expenses. CashCourse Moving Off Campus Guide
Pay Your Rent on Time
If you do get an apartment, always pay the rent on time. This will help you build good credit which will save you money on interest rates later in life for mortgages, loans, and insurance.
Talk to Your Roommate About Money
Make sure you and your roommate are very clear about how you will share the costs of everything. Know what will happen if one of your roommates moves out before the lease expires.