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college student money guide

Summer isn’t over quite yet, but before you know it you’ll be back at school. Whether it’s your first year or last, now is the time to think about your higher-ed financial institution. Keep reading for some banking tips to help you develop a financial plan before you set foot on campus.

Open accounts before school starts. Do your research before deciding on a financial institution — you wouldn’t take an exam without studying first, would you? Consider which kinds of services and features are most important to you and decide accordingly. Summit offers Student Free Checking,* which provides perks such as fee-free ATMs, no minimum balance and a free mobile app, which includes mobile deposit!

Set a budget. And then stick to it. In the whirlwind of college life, it’s easy to lose track of how much money you’re making and spending. Make a list of monthly income and expenses to determine how to best budget your money. Staying disciplined and sticking to your budget will help you avoid overspending and keep your financial life stress-free.

Separate wants from needs. College is a time of ample opportunities, some of which pop up unexpectedly. Before you decide to do something that will cost money, ask yourself — do you need it, or do you want it? It may be difficult to say “no” to a trip to a fancy off-campus restaurant, but turning it down will keep you from scrambling to pay bills at the end of the month. Besides — the food at the dining halls isn’t THAT bad.

Be careful with credit.  Credit cards can be very useful. They can help you in a pinch when you’re short on cash, and also allow you to build credit for the future. However, careless spending with credit cards can quickly lead to debt. Summit offers a variety of credit cards with perks including low interest rates with no penalties, zero annual fees and more.

Mind your student loans. Many students dread the idea of paying back loans, but proper loan management can help relieve much of that worry. Summit has plenty of flexible loan payment options that can help you manage your college expenses, including Private Student Loans with no origination fees, low interest rates and lower monthly payment options than most lenders.

While college can be hectic at times, following these tips will help keep your finances in order. Stay tuned to Summit’s Money Smarts blog for more financial tips to help you totally Own It!