There is a lot of independence that comes with going off to college – from parents, high school teachers and that old summer job. But there’s also another type of independence that comes with a lot more responsibility: financial independence. Having solid financial goals as a college student will serve you now and later in life. For instance, you do not want to use a student loan to pay for basic living costs. Student loans should be used to pay for college tuition. You will have to pay these loans back after graduation (Paying back a student loan, with accrued interest, for an outfit purchased three years ago will disappoint you later.). Your student budget could create a lot of stress as you navigate paying for food, meal plans, clothing and other miscellaneous costs on a limited income or allowance; but if you prepare yourself for living on a college student budget beforehand, the task will seem much more manageable when you arrive on campus. As you start your college adventure, be sure you have a realistic personal-finance plan in place. Even a basic financial plan is better than having no plan at all.
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