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What Students Can Do To Save Some Money

What Students Can Do To Save Some Money

With the new school year well under way, many students are off at college with credit cards and access to bank accounts for the first time. ING Direct USA, the nation's largest direct bank, asked its summer interns what they wished their parents had told them as they headed off to college.
Here's their advice:
Start Saving at a young age. Have your parents open up a savings account or CD for you before you get to college. This way you will always have money to fall back on when you need it, and you'll learn the importance of saving.
Use a Credit Card Only When Absolutely Necessary. Just because a credit line is available, doesn't mean you need to max it out. It can take many years and thousands of dollars to pay off credit-card debt. Only use a credit card in emergency situations.
Maintain a Budget. College is costly. You must buy books, clothes, supplies. Create a budget for each semester so you can prepare for future expenses. This will save you the headache of figuring how much money you need for everything, and leave you with extra spending money.
If You Live Off Campus, don't go out to eat all the time. Buy enough groceries for a week or two so you can make lunch and dinner on your own. It can be a fun way to save money, and you can always split the grocery costs with your roommates.
Car Pool to Class with your friends or roommates. If your schedule with your friends or roommates is the same, try car pooling once in a while. It saves you all money on gas in the long run since you can take turns driving each week. Also, check to see if your campus has a bus service that you can use to get to class.
Buy Your Textbooks from discount Web sites. Textbooks can be very expensive, especially if you buy them from your campus bookstore. Consider purchasing your books from discount Web sites such as or It saves you the hassle of waiting in line for books on the first day of class, and saves you a lot of money.
Split Your Bills with your roommates if you live in an apartment. Make a financial plan you can all agree on to pay your bills every month. Split the bills equally among all of you. This way you're all paying an equal amount, and the plan will keep everyone on a schedule.
If You Have a Job at school, take money out of each paycheck and put it in a savings account. You won't be tempted to spend all of your money, and you will always have some extra spending money for fun or when you really need it.
Make Sure you can access your bank account at school. When moving from your hometown, check to see what banks are in the area of your school. By opening a local bank account, you can easily cash and deposit checks and might be able to avoid surcharge fees at ATMs.
Keep Track of Your Money. Keep a log of deposits and purchases, especially from checks and debit cards. Even though your bank may track this electronically, it's good practice for you to personally manage your funds. Plus, transactions might not go through as soon as you make them. Having a hard copy is always a good idea.

Jim Kelly is chief operating officer of ING Direct.

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