As you head off to college, you'll be faced with a range of new responsibilities – one of the most significant involving your finances. So before you delve into college life, it's a good idea to first prepare yourself for some of the financial choices that might lie ahead. One way to do this is by getting into the habit of consistently managing your checking accounts.
Many college students choose to open checking or savings accounts to help keep their finances organized during college. However, having a bank account only gets a part of the job done when it comes to keeping your finances in order. The other portion relies on you, your attentiveness to your finances, and your organizational skills.
Check your account balance often
In applying organization to your checking account, you'll want to ensure that you regularly check your ending balance – whether through a bank teller, your bank's website, or simply by balancing out your check book. Many students might try to keep a mental tally of how much they spend, versus how much they have in their account. But with all the everyday expenses of a college student – from school supplies to coffee on campus – not to mention the busy lifestyle of a college student, it can be hard to know what you spent in a day, let alone a week. What's more, if you overdraw your checking account, your bank or merchant may incur fees such as NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds) fees, for spending past your available funds.
Staying within your budget
Keeping a balance book and checking your balance regularly are great ways to ensure you don't overdraw on your account and to monitor any unexpected fees.These practices can also help you calculate a budget for a given amount of time, because you'll know your ending account balance.
However, keep in mind that online bank statements don't always post or reflect certain charges right away; so even if you check your balance often through your bank's website, it's also worth managing your checking account via a balancing book.