Financial Management Tips
The following information is based primarily upon material provided by Dr. Vicki
Schram Fitzsimmons, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
1. Conserve your money. Estimate monthly expenses for various activities so you
can plan ahead. If you find yourself short a few bucks from time to time perhaps
you could look for a job or cut some of your expenses. Stock up on items when
they are on sale, or cut coupons…it takes time to save!
2. A night out on the town can be an expensive habit. In Champaign-Urbana there
are numerous recreational activities to students at discounted rates (or FREE).
Consider attending residence hall social events, discount nights at local theaters,
skating at the ice arena, attending Illini Union Board events and concerts, going to
IMPE for any number of great recreational activities, having movie nights in your
own room with friends, etc. Watch the Daily Illini for ads related to campus
3. Specialty clothing is very expensive. Illini sportswear is fun to have around, but
costly. Be careful about how much “new stuff” you put in your wardrobe.
4. Be aware of the telephone! More than likely you will want to keep in touch with
your family and high school friends. That’s understandable, but phone bills add
up over time. Think about buying stamps with your hard-earned money!
Remember to take advantage of your student email accounts. You can email
friends and family, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
5. Think before you spend money on food. If you must order pizza, watch for
coupons in the Daily Illini. Just about every local place offers specials – so keep
your eyes open. If you live in the University Residence Halls, there are specialty
restaurants for you to consider to add variety to your dining options. Check them
out – even CNN thought they were pretty great.
6. Prior to arriving on campus it is possible that someone else bought your personal
care products. Most students are shocked at how much it can cost to make a trip
to the store for shampoo, laundry detergent, soap, etc. Find a friend with a car or
take a bus to the large discount stores in town. Their prices are usually lower than
the more convenient stores close to campus. In fact, if you have a membership to
a local discount warehouse you can buy products in bulk and split the cost with
Planning to take a vacation? Before you know it Spring Break will be here and
you’ll be wanting to take a trip to the beach. Save yourself some financial woes
by setting aside a lump sum of money for the occasion. PLAN. Check out the
package deals, but be careful not to get caught in a scam.
7. Credit cards can be deadly if you don’t manage your finances properly. Interest
rates are usually high, especially for new consumers. If you pay the minimum
monthly payment, it can take years to pay off the balance. If you have credit
cards, plan to pay the balance each month. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
When you graduate, it could take a long time to pay off your school loans and the
credit debt you established while in college. While establishing a good credit
rating can be helpful, you can do that without having 5 credit cards.
8. ATM cards are nice to have around – but are a little too convenient. Remember
to subtract the amount you withdraw from your checking account. It’s easy to
spend money at a faster rate than you earn it if you can get it out of a machine.
9. How to Survive Without Your Parent’s Money by Geoff Martz is published by
Villard Books. The book $9.00 and could help you get a grip on financial
independence. You could also consider taking a class on personal finance issues
– ACE 245.
10. Watch the big picture. When you get your financial aid check in September and
January, those checks are intended to last a full semester. Plan a budget, and stick
with it. If you run out of money in November, it’s a long time until your next
11. If you get a campus job, keep the number of hours you work manageable. A
balanced lifestyle is important. Not sleeping will eventually take its toll, even on
the most energetic person. Some people can manage to work while they are in
school, and do it successfully. Others have to work but have a hard time. If you
need help finding a good balance, feel free to use any number of campus
resources to discuss time management, stress management, and/or financial