Fall is here again, and students are going back to school. Colleges are also receiving freshers who might be staying away from home for the first time. The first concern that meets students is the best way to manage their own money. Since you are now miles away from the safety of your dad’s wallet, it is time you learn tips on managing your finances that will help you be a responsible person in school.

In this post, we look at the various tips on how to manage expenses as a student. Once you know the various ways to handle money, you will be in the position to make the best out of your pocket money and supplies to ensure that you survive the semester or the year until you receive your next refill of the pockets.

Here are five tips on better personal finance management for students:

1. Set Financial Goals to Handle Money Well

As a student, you have goals to graduate from college with a degree. You, therefore, need to follow the necessary steps until you reach your graduation. In the same manner, as we learn from Forbes, finances also need to have goals and plans for how you spend and what you intend to achieve.

When drawing your financial goals as a student, you have to understand your expenses and anticipated savings, if you have it in mind. Draw a clear plan on the things you must spend on, like the textbooks, transportation, and dormitory fees. If you can pay some of these amenities upfront, the better. In doing so, you will avoid spending money meant for the necessities on something else.

While setting up your goals, you should also keep in mind that you need to get the money before you spend it. You, therefore, need to plan where to source your money from. Scholarships and grants may cover most of your school learning needs. For any extra needs, you should find a way to make money, like getting a part-time job.

2. Be a Savvy Buyer

Expenses are inevitable at school. As a student, you need to pay for your supplies quite often. However, you do not just pay for anything even if you need it badly. You should do your research and draw a conclusion on whether you should pay for the item in question. Most items are overpriced especially when students are going back to school.

Once you learn how to manage expenses, you will avoid falling prey for the money-hungry vendors and hawkers who are very enticing. Sometimes, you can try to figure out and research if a student can get any discount when buying the various products.

Some items may be available as supplies by the school upon a request. Some colleges offer books at a subscription. When enrolling for the college, ask if they have a school library that can offer you textbooks to use at a student fee. In this way, you will avoid spending too much on buying the books every year or season.

3. Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score

Students usually miss the meaning of the word “use” when handling credit cards. To improve your credit score, you can acquire a credit card for your expenses while in college. The reason many students misuse credit cards is that they see it as a way of accessing unrestricted expenses.

As a responsible student, you should look for the best way to manage money on the credit card. You may choose to pay for a few expenses in school or get your assignments done online and pay with the card. Be sure you spend reasonably within limits that you’re able to repay to avoid a poor credit score.

4. Find the Ideal Bank for a Checking Account

Various banks offer students the chance to open checking or savings accounts for managing your finances. Before you open an account, do your survey. Note the banks that have their ATM terminals near your campus or residence. In so doing, you will avoid extra charges that come with cross-network transactions with a different bank ATM.

Having a bank also helps you to receive a check or funds transfer from your parents or sponsors to help you cover the necessary bills. In this way, you will avoid landing in debts to buy items which could otherwise make you pay interest on top of the fees.

5. Pay Your Loans Early

Managing your loans is the best way to manage money as a student. If it happens that you are compelled to take a loan, make sure that you pay it before the due date to avoid increased interest charges and fines that come with defaulted loans. However, it is best to avoid them altogether if it is not necessary.