As a college student, the way you manage your money now will have a significant impact on the rest of your life financially. Your habits now pertaining to borrowing, spending and saving will all affect your financial future, credit score, and your ability to manage your money as a graduate. Whether your credit rating is good, average, or even poor, it’s possible to make sure that it’s on the right track whilst still studying for your degree. Here are some of the best financial habits that every student should seek to develop.

#1. Responsible Credit Card Spending:

As a student, it’s likely that you’ve applied for and been given a credit card, which you planned to use to help you with your everyday expenses and the cost of living at college. For many students, having a credit card can be a lifesaver at times; a bit of money extra on your card can be the difference between living off instant ramen or actually being able to enjoy a cooked meal. However, it’s important to be careful with your credit card spending, as this directly affects your credit score. Try to keep your balance below 50% as often as possible, and only spend with it when you absolutely need to.

#2. Save Money Regularly:

As a college student, you might be wondering how anyone could possibly expect you to save money when you barely have any. However, when you think about it, you’ll always have some money that you can save, even if it’s just your spare change, or a couple of dollars from your pay check if you have a part-time job. Open a savings account, or do it the old-fashioned way and have a piggy bank where you can watch your spare coins add up!

#3. Track Your Credit Score:

Getting into the habit of checking your credit score as a student will set you up for a lifetime of always being on top of it. Knowing how to access your credit file and what to look for will help you to understand it better, making it easier for you to know whether you need to focus on credit repair, rebuilding, or maintaining a good score. Accessing your credit score regularly will also help you to quickly spot any potential mistakes on your file that could be bringing it down.

#4. Budgeting:

Lastly, budgeting is something that you should start doing whilst in college, and the habit will likely stay with you for a long time. If you’ve been a college student for a while, then you probably made the common mistakes that most college students make in their first semester when it comes to money; i.e., spending it all at once and then realizing that they’ll have to borrow, beg or earn if they want to eat for the rest of the academic year. Hopefully, this experience has taught you the importance of learning how to live on a budget!

Use College Raptor’s new Student Loan Finder to discover personalized loan options. Compare lenders and interest rates to find the ideal student loan—for FREE!