4 Money Lessons For Every College Student

13 Oct 2015

College is more than just getting a diploma and locking up your dream job. If you don’t learn some basic money strategies, managing your finances will become more difficult no matter how much you earn. As I have said for years, “It’s not what you earn that determines how financially successful you will be, it’s what you don’t spend!”  Here are a few tips to improve your financial situation in your college years:

1) Limit your debt

You will be receiving plenty of credit card offers, and that is fine. Limiting how many you use and paying off the balances every month will help teach you to be disciplined with your spending. It will also allow you to build a great credit score, which will be useful down the road as poor credit scores can limit your opportunities as you grow older. Believe it or not, not ALL debt is bad debt. Living within your means can help as well.

2) Get a job

Working while you are in school, even if only a few hours, will be a great experience and can help build a resume after you graduate. Plus, having a few extra dollars for your weekends won’t hurt! You can also use the extra money to open a Roth or Traditional IRA. Be sure to consult a financial professional to make sure you make the best decision.

3) Expense control College can be expensive, but often it is the little things that add up the most. Track your expenses every month. You will be very surprised why you really have no money.  Having a budget and sticking to it will pay huge dividends as you enter the real world.

4) Build up cash

Often emergency situations will pop up out of nowhere. Medical expenses, car repairs, and apartment expenses can all add up. Having an emergency fund available when needed will help you handle those unexpected expenses. The more “liquid’ you are, the better you can handle these disruptions when they occur.

College should be a great experience for everyone. It can be the stepping stone for bigger and better things in your life. However, it is important to remember that financial opportunities you get won’t necessarily guarantee your financial security. The earlier you can master these money tips, the better off financially you will be!


Good luck!



Jeffrey Johnston

Jeffrey is originally from Solon, Iowa. He currently resides in Swisher, Iowa with his wife, Prudence, and his three children, Seth, Ian, and Roman. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1989, where he majored in Finance and Investments. He has 24 years of experience in the investment and estate planning business. He is currently the President of “Premier Investments of Iowa, Inc.” Jeffrey’s main focus is Estate and Investment Planning for Senior Citizens and Pre Retirees. Jeffrey became a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) in 2001. He is the author of many articles on industry related topics and he is a frequent seminar presenter. He is a Board Member TRIAD Linn County Seniors Against Crime, and he is also a past Board Member of the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Task Force. He is a member of CEO Roundtable in Cedar Rapids, a Daybreak Rotary Member, and a member of the Cedar Rapids Estate Planning Council. In March of 2009, Jeffrey became the host of the Premier Investments of Iowa Financial Hour which airs every Tuesday Evening from 6PM -7PM, on WMT 600 AM Radio. In his free time he enjoys golf, fishing, scuba diving, traveling, and coaching son’s basketball teams.