College Archives - Common Trust FCU

5 Tips to Get Your Student Financially Smart for College and Beyond

College is a profound experience for students, one that teaches them more than just Bio 101 and English Lit. The lessons on independence, both socially and financially, will carry with them throughout their tenure and beyond. Is your student ready to tackle the challenges of making their own money, creating their own budget, and staying fiscally responsible? 

As your student ages toward this big milestone, it’s critical that you prepare them with a solid foundational knowledge of how money works and why it’s important to be smart with their money. Here are 5 lessons to instill on them to get them excited and invested in their financial future:

1. Make a Cost List

Sit down with your child and help them create a list of how much everything they use costs. Food, clothing, electricity, cell phones — itemize these consumables over the course of a month to give them a true idea of how much it costs to be financially independent. 

2. Create a Budget

Incoming money from paychecks and outgoing money to bills — this is the heartbeat of adulthood. Teach your student how to best manage this equation to understand how much they need to make, how much they can afford to spend, and how much they should save. 

3. Emphasize Savings

When teens get their first job, this sudden influx of cash is the time to institute a plan that will help them learn the importance of savings. Most experts recommend 30% be put into savings, but more can’t hurt, especially with the looming costs of books and supplies for college.

4. Keep Yourself Responsible

Ever had your toddler repeat a curse word that accidentally slipped out? Use this “Do as I do” mentality to show your child how important it is to be responsible. Get them involved in saving for a vacation, or have them sit with you while you pay bills. Be their financial role model.

5. Consider a Digital Aid

In this digital era, there are countless tools available to help parents and kids create budgets, track spending on late-night food runs to fuel study sessions, and stay on top of the student loan repayment schedule. 

A good step toward financial independence is understanding how savings and loan programs work. At Common Trust Federal Credit Union, our Financial Education Center offers tools and lessons on common banking needs. Also, our Back to School Loan promotion offers students a way to offset the costs associated with going to college with a low interest rate and 12-month payback period. Learn more today!

Dorm Room Comfort: 9 Overlooked Essentials You’ll Want This Fall

Moving out on your own is a huge step, one full of equal parts excitement and nervousness. Without the comforts of home, you can feel unanchored in the new space while adjusting to the sheer freedom of being a college student. It doesn’t have to be this way, though! 

Other dorm room lists have the basics covered — sheets, comforter, towels, shower shoes, etc. — let’s take a deeper look at those essential extras that will make your shared space feel like a home and provide you with the support you need to make your college experience successful! 

1. Area rug — Getting up for that 8 a.m. lab might be easier if your feet hit a plush carpet rather than a cold floor. Measure the space to get the right size, and pack a small vacuum and fabric spray to keep it clean and fresh. 

2. Dish and silverware set — A small set that includes a few plates, a bowl, a mug, and some silverware will go a long way toward making late-night ramen or local take-out feel like a home cooked meal.

3. Powerstrips — There are never enough outlets, especially when you have to share them. Look for a model that has a long extension cord, plenty of plug space and USB ports for easy charging.

4. Cozy blanket — You have a nice comforter set, but a soft throw blanket gives you options when you don’t necessarily want to get into bed. Use it to wrap up during cold study sessions or when taking a much-needed video game break.

5. Trash can — You forget that you need one until you actually need it. Get a slim model and use those delivery bags to line it for easy disposal on your way to class. 

6. Alarm clock — Yeah, we know: Your phone alarm works great … until it doesn’t. Spend the dough to get a real alarm clock. Some models even offer special features, like a bed shaker or puzzle, that’ll make sure you don’t miss class.

7. Sound-proof headphones — Dorms are, by nature, communal spaces. There will be times when you want to crank your music loud — and conversely times when the party down the hall is disrupting your study time. Best be prepared.

8. Laundry basket — Opt for a sturdy, collapsible model with handles that can fit in your closet and hold all the supplies you need, like soap and dryer sheets. 

9. Curtains — Aside from adding privacy in a fairly non-private space, they can also function as decor on bare concrete walls. Sheer to light-blocking varieties are available — and in a pinch, a shower curtain will do.

One thing all students will need in their dorm rooms is a new computer — and with the Common Trust Federal Credit Union computer loan promotion, you can borrow up to $3,000 for computer-related purchases at a low rate to ensure you’re set up with all the latest tech you’ll need. Head to the branch today or apply online to get started!

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