Financial aid refund? Pace yourself.
For those of you who just got your financial aid refund or now have access to all that student loan money you never had before, this is probably the MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE your future self will wish you took.
That sweet, sweet access to major amounts of cash can cause some serious delusions. Everywhere you look there are shiny new things to drop that cash on. Trips to take. Cars to buy. A new closet to fill. I mean, college is about trying it all and having the time of your life, right?! NO, FRIENDS. NO.
Yes, you should try new things and you can absolutely have an amazing time in college, but be responsible and exercise a little restraint. Blowing through all of your cash in the first few weeks of the semester is such an amateur move that just doesn’t need to happen. To be financially successful, you need to think long term, beyond the here and now, and budget those funds to last the whole year.
For those of you with really big refunds, that’s a huge sign that you’re probably borrowing way more than you really need to cover your college expenses. It’s important to remember what that money is for … your out-of-pocket school expenses. That means books, supplies, rent if you have it … not clothes, concerts, spring break. If you want that stuff, consider a job. You don’t have to pay back a paycheck. Student loans, on the other hand?
For help understanding how to create a budget, take a look at these resources on iGrad. Not only can you access financial wellness tools while you're in there, but if you do have student loans, you can track all of your borrowing in iGrad (instead of having to keep track of different loans with different lenders). So, in short, here's what you need to remember.
- Don't spend money just because you have it.
- Don't borrow more than you actually need.
Pro tip: Wait a day or two before buying something you think you need. It could lose it's appeal over that time, and then you haven't wasted your money. And when you graduate from ASU and repayment on your loans kicks in, you’ll be so glad you passed on those frivilous purchases.