Money Lessons for Kids Heading to College

By Barbara Pronin

Going off to college is an exciting time: new friends, new surroundings, and seemingly endless possibilities. But it’s expensive, and unless your kid has access to unlimited funds, he or she will have to be resourceful in finding ways to make a dollar go further.

As parents, says small business advisor Rich Ellinger, you may rest a bit easier if you impart these three simple money lessons to your college-bound student:

Saving is not just for rainy days – Everyone needs a savings account – and not just for ‘rainy days.’ No matter their budget or allowance from home, urge your kid to start a life-long habit of tucking aside a little each month. Ask, “would you want to have to turn down an unexpected travel weekend for lack of a few bucks?” It’s a good question, and a money conversation worth having.

The value of an hour isn’t always the same – Hourly jobs are a college staple. Encourage your kid to get one as a way to learn new skills and meet new people while taking an active role in her finances. Also, since we all have the same number of hours in the day, it’s a great way to learn the value of an hour. Ask, ‘how much can you earn by working hourly at a job? How much more can you earn once you have the skills you are going to college for? And how much can you earn in passive income once you are able to invest?’ It’s a good way to motivate your student to start building wealth as early as possible.

Buying used or discounted can save big time – College necessities from books to furniture to mini-fridges are almost always available used or discounted – and in many cases, new is not worth the price tag. Buying used or discounted is a money-saving device anyone should consider, so urge your student to check yard sales, Craigslist or other online resources for used or discount buying opportunities on much of the stuff he needs. 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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