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Ways to help your college student create a budget

First-time college students learn this lesson quickly: every dollar counts.
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 1:49 PM EST
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InvestigateTV - First-time college students learn this lesson quickly: every dollar counts. A new survey from Bank of America found 61 percent of college students practice saving, but only 46 percent actually track their spending.

If it’s your child’s first semester away from home, they are learning quickly about the value of budgeting, whether they realize it or not. The Bank of America survey found the top expenses college kids face include food, transportation, entertainment, and of course, their phone bill. That is why Candice Haggerty with Bank of America often helps teach young folks the in’s and out’s of budgeting.

“Only about 45 percent of our students have a budget, while almost 60 percent say they’re financially independent. They really haven’t sat down and put pen to paper,” said Haggerty.

Haggerty said it’s why budgeting lessons for young adults are so important to pass on. She said you have to teach them to categorize their spending into wants versus needs, then compare it against their income to find opportunities to save.

“You know, instead of buying Starbucks five days a week, maybe it’s one day a week and take that extra $20 and budget that for something else as those unexpected expenses,” Haggerty added.

She said instead of Ubering everywhere, they could walk or carpool with other students. Also, find little ways to save and always teach them to pay themselves first.

If they start automatically saving 10 or 20 percent of their paychecks now, that could be the most valuable lesson they learn in college.