by EDITH ERICKSON
Many college students go through school with much debt. This is no surprise when college students are expected to pay for tuition, books, fees, school supplies, gas, food, and much more.
This is just the basic list and does not even include expenses for recreation. The majority of students are in the hole. What is the way out?
Drew Erickson is a student at Longview who has been a U.S. Bank employee for over a year. One of his jobs entails working with overdrafts. While doing this, he has learned the pitfalls and solutions to help keep college students out of debt.
*Take subsidized loans from the government, not unsubsidized loans from a bank.
*Avoid credit card debt by paying off your credit card each month.
*Do not spend money that is not in your account.
*Balance your checkbook.
*Find out when the checks you deposit will be available.
*If you have credit card debt, a balance transfer may be an option
*Use internet banking carefully; it is not as reliable as getting your exact available balance from a branch.
Erickson has seen over and over again the unbelievable: Redbox debt!
Erickson said, “You will not believe how many college students get overdrafts over a Redbox rental.”
At this point, Drew recalled several memories and laughed. He added, “Redbox is not worth it if it will cost you over $30. You don’t know how many times I’ve seen that.”
From experience at the bank, he said, “If you get overdrafts (especially if it’s the first time), make sure to talk with a bank manager to see if some of them can be refunded. Banks may not promote this, but it is likely that they will work with you if you ask them.”
Rachel Block, a former employee of Allen Bank and Trust Company, said, “We charged $25 for an overdraft.” She also said, “We have a lot of college students who will overdraft on school payments, fast foods (McDonalds, Burger King).”
Different things can contribute to overdrafts. Block said, “People got stuck with peer pressure. They felt like they had to go to the movies, otherwise they would be out of the loop.”
The best thing to do is to keep track of all your payments.
Block said, “Check your online banking.”
Either way, students who want to be safe are better off by completely staying away from credit cards or by paying off debt each month. This is the best way that college students can build up good credit for the future.
Erickson said, “At some point, you will need to buy a house and could use better rates on loans.”
A lot of these pointers are obvious. Still it is surprising how many college students simply do not follow them. These pointers will help students save hundreds of dollars each month.
Many college students have a pattern of paying over $100 of overdraft fees each month.
Any student who would like additional help with any of these pointers should visit the financial aid department. They are there to help students figure out the money options for school.
The counseling department can also refer students to professionals in the community. These professionals will work with anyone on their personal financial problems. The experts say to take advantage of professional help and be debt-free.
MONEY SAVING TIPS
1. Write a list before you go shopping–and then STICK TO IT!
2. Instead of a cookbook, plan your meals around what’s on sale at the grocery store.
3. Buy video games that you can play over and over again- and don’t buy another one until you’ve mastered what you have.
4. Give up expensive habits like cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol.
5. Clean your car’s air filter. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to 7 percent, saving you more than $100 for every 10,000 miles you drive in an average vehicle.
6. Cancel unused club memberships.
7. Wash your hands frequently (you won’t get sick often and thus won’t need to go to the doctor).
8. Don’t go to stores or shopping centers for entertainment (chances are you will spend more money).
9. Brown bag your lunch.
10. Create a visual reminder of your debt (This will remind you where you are, and you will see the progress toward eventually being debt free)