Stick to a Budget
The word budget scares off many adults as well as teens, but a budget is the best way to ensure discipline with your finances.
Start by estimating monthly expenditures for major categories such as school expenses, transportation, food, clothing and entertainment. Keep tabs on spending with an Excel spreadsheet or keep a record of expenses in a small notebook. Compare your records with credit union and credit card statements to ensure accuracy. Keep your budget current.
Use Caution with Credit
Credit card companies are no longer permitted to issue cards to applicants younger than the age of 21 without an adult co-signer or proof of adequate income. But even if you can get a credit card resist the temptation.
An option is to obtain a debit card or a prepaid VISA gift card from DuTrac Community Credit Union. With a credit card you risk starting bad habits that can sink your credit score, make it harder to borrow money for a home and possibly cloud your financial situation for years to come. If you can’t pay for it with cash, you do not need it.
Be Aware of Costs and Fees
A DuTrac Community Credit Union debit card is a convenient way to manage your money. You can deposit money into your account and the debit card functions almost like a credit card – with less risk.
You can incur penalty fees by overdrawing your account by using a debit card just as you can with a check, so it is incumbent on you to keep track of your daily available balance. Try to avoid fees for an ATM that is not part of DuTrac’s Privileged Status ATM network. Ensure bill payment on a timely basis with DuTrac’s PC Branch and Bill Pay or your may recognize late charges.
As a college student with a part-time job, start a good savings habit by paying yourself first – a maxim that will serve you well if you follow it throughout life.
Consider setting aside 10 percent of every paycheck in a DuTrac Roth Individual Retirement Account. The earnings on this account will grow tax-free and the money can be used toward a first-time home purchase in future years …or continue to save for those long-awaited retirement years.
View an online budget form or stop in to any of DuTrac’s convenient office locations to receive one of the following free booklets: Get CreditWise; Get InvestmentWise; Making Money Work for You; or How to Succeed in College.