If you have kids heading to college this fall, be sure to have some open discussions about money with them before they go. In addition, a check in call after a month to discuss money isn’t a bad idea.
Here are some money myths that you can use to get the discussion started.
College Money Myths
Myth 1. Use the university medical plan. You need to understand your current medical insurance plan. Many plans have increased costs for out-of-network doctors, however, it could be even more expensive to use the medical insurance your school offers. Do a comparison of the plans and costs; just make sure you don’t go without any insurance.
Myth 2. You must wait until after college to start a retirement plan. College is a great time to start a Roth IRA. Put away some of the money you earn from your summer or part-time job in a Roth IRA during college. This was one of the key reasons I was able to leave the workforce at 29.
Myth 3. You must pay your tuition with a check. Find out if you can pay your tuition on a credit card. If so you can use cash rewards credit cards to get cash back on your tuition. My aunt mentioned this weekend that was her plan. Great idea!
Myth 4. Buy everything for your dorm room. Instead, give your new roommate a call. By coordinating bigger items, you’ll save some money and avoid showing up with two toasters and no t.v.
Myth 5. Always use the meal plan. I can’t tell you how much money I wasted on the meal plan since you could only add money in $250 increments. Plan ahead and you won’t have to spend $200 on food in one week! In addition, be sure to check out other options for cheaper (and healthier) food choices.
Myth 6. Keep using your hometown bank. You may want to explore local banks in your college town. Our university had a free credit union with branches all over campus. They had free ATMs, checking and savings accounts. It might be more convenient than your old bank.
Myth 7. Buy everything you could possibly need. You can save a bundle by waiting to finish your shopping. Before leaving for school, I made sure to buy everything on those college checklists. It wasn’t until I was there that I realized I could still go to a store and buy some stuff; you might find you don’t even need it all to begin with.
Myth 8. Assume your belongings are insured. Inform your insurance agent that you are moving out. Determine if your belongings will be insured under your homeowners policy, or check out a renters policy. You’ll also want to let them know if you are taking your car, as it will be garaged at a new location. Don’t end up uninsured in the event of a fire or other catastrophe.
Myth 9. Student loans are the only option to finance your education. Being frugal in college doesn’t have to ruin your fun. Check out how to be a frugal college student for ideas.
Myth 10. Buy your textbooks immediately. Wait until after your first class to see if you need a certain version of the recommended text. Other textbook tips for college students include shopping for books online and reselling them once you are finished.
The Money Writers College Series:
- College Student Money Guide: Financial Tips for Student Success at Money Smart Life
- College Student Finance Tips at Brip Blap
- Going Back to School? Here Are Some Tips That Helped Me at Lazy Man and Money
- How Much Do You Need to Save for College? at The Digerati Life
- Financial Tips for College Students at The Sun’s Financial Diary
- Top 10 Ways to Save Money in University/College
at Million Dollar Jounrey
- How to Be a Frugal College Student at Frugal Dad
More College Money Resources:
- College money all at once or allotted over time? at Gather Little By Little
- Kids Headed Off to College? 5 Things to Teach Them Before They Go at Kids and Money
- 50+ Tips, Ideas, Resources on Saving Money for College Students at Broke Grad Student
College Money Giveaway:
For college students (and non-college students) ender for a chance to win an Ipod Nano, cash and more!