Enrollment for the Spring 2018 semester began Oct. 31 for general students and Oct. 30 for honors students. It will continue until a week into next semester, but some students said they had trouble registering for classes last week because of holds on their accounts.
Some of the problems resulted from charges issued on the first day of the month, but others could have been avoided with closer attention to students’ accounts.
During this transition period between parental support and complete independence, students must learn how to handle their own finances. Successful financial management begins with awareness. Check your monthly balance and keep track of how much you spend.
When a student’s university account balance changes, officials notify them via email. The email does not specify details, so students always should click on the link to their account and make sure the change is correct. The sooner you find a mistake, the easier it will be to fix.
Sometimes late scholarships cause issues with student payments and account holds. If you know a scholarship might arrive late, contact financial aid officials with the specific details of your situation. They may be willing to lift your account hold while they wait for the scholarship to post.
Most students will be on their own financially after college. Parents who help now are great, but students also should know how to handle their own money.
Even if you aren’t making huge expenditures right now, create a weekly or monthly budget. Calculate how much money you want to spend on food, gas, clothing, entertainment, etc., and try to stick to your plan. Budgeting does not necessarily mean spending less money. If you want to spend $400 on underwear in one month, that’s fine, as long as you plan for it.
Free apps like Mint and Level Money can help make budgeting easy and accessible.
If you make income from a job, you also must file taxes at the end of the year, either independently or with your parents. If you file under your parents, observe their process. Independent students can file taxes via free online services like TurboTax or TaxSlayer.
For tax purposes, keep track of your paychecks and the exact amount you make. When you make purchases, scan or take pictures of all your receipts and store them in an organized file.
You can write off many of your expenses, depending on your occupation. The Internal Revenue Service has not offered a specific list, but a GO BankingRates article lists 50 potential personal tax deductions.
Managing personal finances by yourself can be intimidating, but it’s a necessary part of life and will become easier if you start now. Ask your parents for advice and observe how they handle money. For online help, visit Forbes business magazine at forbesplanning.com or the website of Dave Ramsey, businessman and money expert, daveramsey.com.