Before your kid heads off to the most expensive keg party of her life, make sure she understands all the costs associated with her newfound freedom.
So have a conversation with her about money management before she heads off to college.
Because for many kids, college is the first time they're on their own controlling the money in their pocket.
So make it simple - but scare the bejeezus out of her so she doesn't waste her money on late-night online shopping and cheap beer.
Here are five things to suggest.
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1. Axe the plastic
"Do not get a credit card," says Bill Fleming, managing director in the Private Company Services group at PwC.
I actually remember moseying up to the Discover (DFS) card desk in the food court back when I was a sophomore at Lehigh University. Worst thing I could have ever done. Took me years after graduation to pay that damn thing off.
Get her a debit card instead. Just make sure it's from a large institution so she's not charged all those pesky non-home terminal fees every time she hits the ATM. "The little fees will eat you alive," says Fleming.
2. Make a budget and try stick to it.
"But be honest when creating it," says David Almonte, CPA and member of the American Institute of CPAs (AIPCAs). So you if really, really love that Double Chocolaty Chip Creme Frappuccino, that's fine. Just put it in your budget.
This is a great exercise because it will force her to really through all the purchases she makes. And this free student budget calculator is the perfect place to start.
3. Buy used books and furniture.
While many of us love that new textbook smell (or is it just me?), there really is no reason to buy them new. There are tons of sites that let you rent them, like Chegg or just buy them cheaper, like BetterWorldBooks.
"Same with lightly used dorm room furnishings," says Neal Stern, CPA and member of the AICPAs National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. You probably can get some of it for free from a graduating Senior otherwise there are probably places on campus where used furniture is listed.
And there's no need to duplicate dorm room electronics either. So have her talk to her roommates and divvy up things like the printer, TV, etc.
4. Take advantage of student discounts
Campuses are great at offering student discounts on everything from events to gym memberships. So make sure your kid seeks them out. And oftentimes, the local neighborhoods around campus do their best to entice the students with free or cheap stuff too.
So have her be proactive and go find the freebies.
5. Get a part-time job.
Yes, it's O.K. to put your student to work. Whether it's for the money or just the experience, working and juggling classes is a great thing to have on a resume when the time comes to get a "real" job.
And oftentimes, colleges offer work-study programs, which could count toward tuition or room and board.
So it's worth investigating.
Teaching your college kid to be financailly savvy now can save her years of mistakes in the future. Plus, it might prevent her from buying that extra case of beer.
(Well, maybe not that.)