This fall, millions of young people will be leaving home for the first time to begin their college career. It’s an exciting time and for many, it’s the first time they will manage their own money. I sat down with Jack A., TTCU branch manager to ask what advice he offers to new students.

Below are the top four tips Jack shares –

1. Take a financial literacy class.

Either through your college or an online offering like Zogo, becoming financially literate will pay off for years to come.

2. Create a budget.

It may seem silly to have a budget when you’re barely making ends meet, but that’s exactly when you need a budget. When you have so little, it’s important to know where every penny goes. And learning to budget now will only set you up for future success. Your budget doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to work for you. Your expenses can be as simple as savings, housing and food, with whatever is leftover earmarked as ‘spending money’.  

3. Start building credit.

If you haven’t already, start building your credit. Having a strong credit score will be beneficial as you finish college and begin your professional life. You’d be surprised how many times your credit is pulled. A landlord will check your payment history. Employers routinely pull credit as part of a background screening. If you need to borrow money, you’ll receive better interest rates. And it’s much easier to maintain good credit than to rebuild your credit later on in life. Consider using a credit card for day-to-day purchases, with a plan to pay off the balance each month.

4. Establish a bank account.

Shop around and find the best fit for your situation. Do you want easy access to physical locations, or do you prefer to bank online? Do you want a bank credit or debit card? TTCU has many different types of accounts, one of which will be sure to fit your needs.

Good habits established early in life will only help as college ends and you enter the post-graduate years. If you have questions or need assistance at any time in the journey, a TTCU Credit Union Advisor is a great resource. Stop by any location to visit with one.