By in Budget, Debt, Money Management, Saving | 5 comments

EXCITING NEWS: I was selected to deliver a national training in San Francisco this November entitled: Personal Finance Solutions for Busy Mental Health Professionals. This 3 hour workshop includes material from my upcoming eBook. Stay tuned to get first crack at the NEW EBOOK. And it’s FREE to my readers.

“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” Josh Billings

Build skills in all areas. Set goals. Success will follow.

MAIN TOPIC: Pay attention to your Spending

Esmerelda  is a college student with lots of money trouble; ATM fees, overdrawn account fees, credit card late and interest fees, rescinded credit card, late fee on tuition account, and overspending in general. Hundreds of dollars in fees and interest ate up her meager savings and caused her LOTS OF STRESS!!

I want to save you from Esmerelda’s troubles.

At the beginning of the school year, you college students are on your own for the first time with worries about friends, school and MONEY. I’ll leave the friends and school worries to someone else. But I CAN TEACH YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MONEY MATTERS while you are in college.

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HANDLE YOUR OWN MONEY whether you get cash from mom & dad, loans, jobs, or any combination. Follow these steps and you’ll have LESS MONEY STRESS NOW & LATER.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Get Control of your Cash

1. Open a checking account and savings account with NO FEES, for college students.

2. Arrange with employer to have check AUTOMATICALLY deposited in your savings account.

3. Use an on line account or bricks and mortar bank or credit union.

4. Ask these questions and only open if they say NO FEES in writing:

Do you have an account for college students with no fees at all?

Does this account offer free ATM withdrawals?

5. If you need a loan for school expenses, go straight to the Financial Aid office for HELP. Work with them as long as it takes to get the money you need. That’s what they’re there for!

6. TOTAL ALL YOUR INCOME- Estimate income from job, loans, parents, scholarship, and aid. WRITE DOWN YOUR INCOME IN A NOTEBOOK or chart like this one. Categorize by month or lump sum.




INCOME TYPE DATE RECEIVED AMOUNT- how often – fixed or changes HOW PAID- Check or on line (automatic or not) DATE PAID NOTES


1st  of the month $350.00/ every month about the same On line automatic deposit to savings Last day of the month  

7. Complete a chart like the following and write down every expense you are responsible for; cell phone, tuition, rent, utilities, car payment etc.; include amount; date due; how paid. These are charges that are FIXED and don’t have much flexibility.

8. Add up your expenses write in the last line of the chart.

9. Next, add any expenses that you control; beer, restaurants, entertainment, etc. These are your DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES. These are the easiest places to cut spending.



BILL DATE DUE AMOUNT- fixed or changes HOW PAID- Check or on line (automatic or not) DATE PAID NOTES

T Mobile cell phone

15th of the month $45.00 On line automatic deduction from savings Automatic on date due Check minutes balance mid month.









TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES ( fixed + discretionary)          



11. If you have a credit card, use only for emergencies. If you don’t have the cash, don’t spend it!

12.  If you have a credit card, PAY THE BALANCE DUE IN FULL AT THE END OF EVERY MONTH.

13.  The money that is not due monthly, like your tuition or insurance, should be in your savings account. Make sure that the amount you will need for these infrequent payments stays in the savings account until you need it.

14.  Pay every bill early. At least a week before the bill is due, pay it.

15.  Bunch up bill paying into 2 times per month.

16.  Look at your income and expenses-Are you spending on things or experiences that are worthwhile to you? REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS ONE. If not, curb your spending.

17.  Read The Secret to Saving without Sacrifice here.

18.  Studies come first, but if you have extra time, consider partying less and get a part time job.

19.  Every month, put your discretionary money from each category in an ENVELOPE and label it. For example, $80.00 cash goes in an envelope at the beginning of the month. After you spend that $80.00 you are done with entertainment for the month!!!

20.  At the end of the month, analyze your income and spending. Complete another Income and expense tracking sheet. Make changes according to the info from the prior month.


Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it to keep all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.

  1. Read the entire article again.
  2. Choose one or two steps to begin immediately.
  3. Write in your planner the steps to take.
  4. After completing the first steps, repeat until all are completed.

Write in with your questions and experiences.



After every article for the next several weeks, you will be introduced to several Personal Finance web sites in the Yakezie network. Each one has their own unique voice and style. The consistency in all is their desire to help others. Consider visiting a few each day!

The Millionaire Nurse Blog
The Saved Quarter
The Wealth Artisan
Ultimate Money Blog
Watson Inc



  1. This is a subject close to my heart. We must teach our children these important money habits. We also must live them in our own lives as example. Good money habits and organization skills are sometimes learned to late and thats just sad. Your examples of how to do this money organizing work are good. I agree that the writing down of goals, plans. etc. they are very important for a less stressful year at school. I know their under enough stress already with their studies and being away from home.


    August 29, 2010

  2. Thanks for the commment, I am obsesed with financial literacy, as you stated, starting young is very important.

    Barb Friedberg

    August 29, 2010

  3. Great tips that need to be implemented. I like how you mentioned watching out for fees for these accounts. Presently, there is not need to pay a fee for the privilege of giving a bank use of your savings. Who knows what will happen to free checking and savings accounts if the new regulation cuts into banking profits too badly. Anyway, great review and thanks for the link :)

    Roshawn @ Watson Inc

    August 30, 2010

  4. Thoughtful points.

    Joey Mcamis

    September 1, 2010

  5. Thanks for sharing your tips. While in hindsight we might consider this “no brainer”, I think we both have to respect the fact that college is a new adventure for most students.

    With all the new regulations, some products such as free checking is hard to come by, especially since students might not have direct deposit, etc.


    February 24, 2011


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