Stretch your Dollar: Guiding students to budget for weekly college expenses

Stretch Your Dollar

(WTNH) — By now, college students are back on campus and starting to figure out what their weekly expenses look like. We are stretching your dollar with the important conversations you should be having this fall to ensure they’re heading on the right financial path.

“That extra spending money that you have has to last the whole year,” said Johnson Brunetti partner Heath Grossman.

He said to start with their spending habits and budget. Are they on pace to have enough money to last the semester? Or perhaps both semesters?

And as they spend, are they keeping in mind the costs they’re accruing for the future?

Those student loans “are they going to shoulder some of the responsibility. Will they graduate and have to start paying back loans?”

Remember, interest rates on student loans are typically higher than personal loans. Be sure to do the math so you know how much you’ll have to pay back post-graduation.

“Hopefully that will give them more motivation to do well in school so they can gain employment later on down the road,” Grossman said.

And it’s this time of life many college-age kids will take on their first credit card. You want to be sure they know how they work. Grossman says it’s not a license to overspend. The credit score they’re building with credit cards will help them buy a car and house one day. It’s important for them to take care of that score from the start and learn how to monitor it for fraud.

It’s good to check in with your child a couple of times a semester to see where they are financially and if they need to rebudget or redirect spending. For more ways to help with saving for college, go to savingforcollege.com.

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